QMT Features: February 2012
Embedded metrology aids assembly at Airbus
The new Airbus 350 project is notable as one of the first projects for Airbus where embedded metrology was assumed from the beginning.

Metrology is now part of every industrial project, and embedded metrology is the emerging standard. Embedded metrology has become an essential tool for manufacturing. French based G²Métric is fully involved in the development and integration of measurement solutions for Metrology Assisted Assembly and does significant work with aerospace manufacturer Airbus.

Relying on metrology to guide assembly processes began on the Airbus 380 program but has since spread to other Airbus programs such as the A340, A320, and A400M. But the new Airbus 350 project is significantly different. It is notable that this aircraft is one of the first projects for Airbus where embedded metrology was assumed from the beginning of the project. The goal of this A350 project is to harmonize the solution so all Airbus facilities in Europe (France, Germany, United Kingdom, and Spain) follow the same process and do not deploy uniquely developed software for each new integration process. 

Nicolas Prost, a technical engineer from G²Métric  explained that a group of Airbus experts designate the required metrology systems and software to be used on the project together with all the data management architecture. SpatialAnalyzer software, developed by New River Kinematics, has been approved in the list of software to be embedded within such applications.

Nicolas Prost said that every A350 part is followed by its measurement characteristic, meaning that every subassembly is measured and results are stored for the next step. All measurement phases need to be automated for the next step, thus driving the assembly by measurement. Assembly of every part is based on the measured “as built” value, not on the nominal value. This allows simulation of the assembly to identify in advance if there will be issue, and then drive the tooling and actuators based on feedback from the measurement system.

 G²Métric provides the full solution to drive a tool’s movement based on automated instrument measurements. SpatialAnalyzer is embedded in programs using the software development kit to initiate Measurement Plan automation functions. This SDK helps perform calculations on the surface and definies the corrrect reference frame. It’s also used during the development to justify all the processes and provide essential understanding of measurement uncertainty.  So according to Prost, with the assistance of leading edge metrology instruments and SpatialAnalyzer, this now allows assembly of large componentsto be more effectively performed.
email: paul@kinematics.com
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