QMT Features: November 2010
Automated metrology reduces inspection cycle time by more than 80% at Airbus
Airbus was looking for an automated metrology solution to ensure the assembly accuracy of the fuselage sections of its aircraft. 

Airbus, one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers, consistently captures approximately half or more of all orders for airliners with more than 100 seats. The Airbus product line comprises of 14 aircraft models, ranging from the 100-seat single-aisle A318 jetliner to the 525-seat A380, which is the largest civil airliner in service. Under the Airbus Military Company, Airbus has developed the A400M multi-role airlifter, a military transport aircraft, which will replace ageing fleets of C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transalls.

Airbus was looking for an automated metrology solution to ensure the assembly accuracy of the fuselage section of the A380 and A400M aircrafts as well as measurement assistance for the assembly of the nose fairing of the A330GMF. The solution needed to be operator-driven, easy to use, flexible (supporting multiple devices) and allow Airbus to combine measurement and data analysis in order to accelerate inspection cycle time.

BuildIT Software & Solutions delivers a customized, easy-to-use solution that interfaces with the proven and established metrology software, Build!IT. The tool allows users to quickly import native format Catia V5 master models, measure points from various devices and obtain real-time graphical feedback and analysis. Specific features, settings and options are made available to the user depending on the login profile that was selected (operators, experts, maintenance). Inputs and final results are stored in XML files for direct integration into the manufacturing statistical process control system database.

BuildIT allowed Airbus to implement an operator-driven inspection process that eliminated the need for direct intervention from a metrology expert, reducing training for new operators to 4 hours. The captured results could now be sent directly to the SPC system, without manual intervention, removing the possibility of generating errors related to data entry. The solution was custom tailored for Airbus’s specific needs yet remained flexible and was introduced to multiple processes in various aircraft families. The automated process made inspections reliable, fast and shifted the required know-how from the metrology expert to the shop floor personnel. In all, Airbus was able to drastically reduce its inspection time, going from 12 hours to 2, a saving of more than 80%.


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