Production Support Rig for Airbus Defence and Space

The UK-based division of Airbus Defence and Space designs builds and tests highly advanced payloads and scientific equipment for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation and scientific satellites.

As part of its manufacturing programme for cutting-edge space-borne radars, we were recently commissioned to supply a custom designed ‘Antenna Turnover Rig’.

The rig provides mounting and free access for assembly and test of large antennae panel assemblies that measure approximately 3m x 1m x 0.2m with a mass of 115 kg.

The specification called for manual operation with built-in safety measures to firmly secure and position the large panels with complete 360 degree rotation and height adjustment.

The complete rig also allows mobilisation around the assembly area using heavy duty castors with brake fixings on the main frame assembly and the rotatable handling frame should be removable with provision for crane lifting.

Our in-house designers utilised framing components and linear system power transmission components from the MiniTec profile system, including braked wheels, hand wheels, M12 eye-bolts and many interfacing brackets.

To facilitate the manual rotation of the handling frame, a third party 24:1 bevel reduction gearbox and a secondary transfer box were used in combination with bearing blocks and other MiniTec Linear System power transmission components.

Specialised Support Rig
testing rig design

The design included a special detente pin safety mechanism to restrict the rotating frame from moving when in its fixed position.

The complete assembly was proof load tested and CE marked in our Basingstoke factory, before being transferred and assembled on-site.

To date, we have supplied several manual and motion control automated Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) to Airbus Defence and Space’s facility at Portsmouth (formerly known as Astrium) and continue to enjoy a close working relationship.