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Metrology in Aerospace


tion,” he said. “This will become a smart system.” Somewhat like laser trackers, the digital photogrammetry portion of the system requires coded targets placed precisely in the scene. They are moving on to the Phase II portion of an SBIR grant. The Phase I requirement called for a measuring ac- curacy of ± 0.002" (50 µm). “We expect to hit 0.001" [0.025 mm] and we measure Key Characteristics of features—surfac- es, holes, or chamfers—within the limit of what the laser radar can provide,” said Butkiewicz. “We provide out the character- istics of that hole within the global reference frame, not just a cloud of points that need to be analyzed and assessed.”


White-Light Systems


Another wide-area scanning technology is so-called ‘white- light metrology.’ Noted for simplicity and accuracy, it is also being used in metrology-assisted manufacturing. Noted for capturing millions of points at a time, structured white-light systems project shadows of lines from a 2D lens onto a 3D


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surface. They then apply sophisticated mathematics to deter- mine point clouds of measurements. Lockheed Martin (Fort Worth, TX) is looking into using these systems to help in critical but mundane tasks. “Our primary goal is to investigate advanced noncontact measurement technologies which could replace current manual gages which are typically imprecise and slow. The ability to take repeatable measurements independent of an operator is critical in order to avoid the need for a fleet of trained metrologists to inspect the aircraft,” said Chris Barrow of Lockheed Martin. He notes that even though individual inspection with a hand gage may take less than five seconds, with 45,000 fasteners on the outer surfaces of the F-35, that is a lot of inspection. It is easy for an operator to miss a problem, and the cost of rework is expo- nentially more expensive later on. “Structured light scanners offer the capability to capture larger areas of data in a single measurement as well as the flexibility to measure complicated parts and assemblies that would not be feasible otherwise,” he said. He reports that Lockheed Martin is using the Cognitens WLS400M blue-light scanner from Hexagon in a system that verifies hinge location in F-35 doors and openings. They are using the data to de- termine the source of alignment defects. “Although the Cognitens system is cur- rently being used manually, the feasibility of an automated door-inspection cell is being investigated,” he said Another such system is the Ad-


Designed to Streamline™ 74 ManufacturingEngineeringMedia.com | March 2013 GSS-Mfg_Eng_ad-bw_Mar13 ©2013, Global Shop Solutions, Inc.


vanced Topometric Sensor (ATOS) provided by Gesellschaft für Optische Messtechnik (GOM). System integrator ShapeFidelity (Huntsville, AL) is using these systems to effect part-to-part mating through robotic guidance in a variety of applications. “We are using the ATOS-guided systems to replace hard tooling for placement,” explained Rob Black, senior applications engineer for ShapeFidelity. They call their system Digital Tooling. “We have delivered dozens of these systems, in commer- cial and defense aircraft applications, including aircraft, spacecraft, and rocket applications,” he said.


2/1/13


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