Automated inspection of Airbus jet engine pylons

February 9, 2016

Automated inspection of Airbus jet engine pylons

Pylon inspection 2 times faster!

Geometric inspection of jet engine pylons ensures high production quality of these critical aircraft subassemblies. The pylons transfer heavy loads from the engines to the wings. As the shape of the pylons is crucial to wing aerodynamics, they influence the lift and drag forces of the aircraft considerably.

Since early 2014, ARGON develops measurement programs using Spatial Analyzer to automate pylon inspection in the Airbus St.-Eloi factory near Toulouse. The Cell for Automated Measurement of Pylons (CAMP) is equipped to measure Airbus A320 and A350 jet engine pylons.

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Fully automated – from Start to Report

Previously, it took 1.5 hours for one person to measure a single pylon. Now the automated inspection process only takes between 30-45 minutes, depending on the pylon type. With ARGON measurement automation, Airbus turns around pylon inspection 2 times faster! When a new pylon is transported in the cell, the operator simply presses the Start button to kick off the automated inspection cycle. Clear and straightforward; ARGON made it as easy as operating a coffee machine.

A Hexagon laser tracker automatically traces the initial pylon positioning. Then the tracker assists a KUKA robot in automatically measuring 100-200 tactile inspection points, depending on the pylon type. On average, measuring accuracy increased 30%, and the automated process eliminates human error 100%.

The process supports point-specific tolerancing, and automatically generates a measurement report in Airbus template format. In the coming weeks, ARGON will deliver two more inspection programs to support the A320Neo-PW and A350-900 pylon types.

Inspection innovation increases productivity

Process innovation through measurement integration makes a real difference. ARGON speeds up quality control 2-fold, and simplifies the process by requiring fewer operators and adaptors. This increases inspection productivity and cuts related operational costs 70%, allowing Airbus to further step up production rates.

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