OCT 2018


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NEWS 63 CW contributing writer Karen Mason returns to the CW fold after a long hiatus. She has been researching and writing about composites technology for more than 25 years. Expediting assembly inspection InFactory Solutions is not the only Airbus subsidiary involved in AR solutions for composites-related manufacturing. Testia (Toulousse, France), which specializes in inspection and quality- control solutions, is marketing Airbus' Mixed Augmented Reality (MiRA) solution under the name Smart Augmented Reality Tool (SART). SART has been implemented at two Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, KS, US) facilities where components for the Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft are produced (see Learn More). Airbus Group Innovation (Suresnes, France) developed MiRA technology to reduce the inspection time for tens of thousands of brackets that hold hydraulic pipes and wire bundles in place and attach them to the composite fuselage sections of the latest production aircraft. Using a tablet-based interface equipped with a camera for visual inspection, workers access the 3D model of the aircraft and compare the built and installed assemblies to their digital designs to inspect for missing, wrongly positioned or damaged brackets. At the end of the inspection, a report is auto- matically generated that includes details of any nonconforming parts that can be replaced or repaired quickly. In the first internal deployment of MiRA, in 2011, the system reportedly dropped inspection time for the 60,000-80,000 brackets in an A380 fuselage from three weeks to three days. Now, under the SART moniker, Testia has deployed the system to composite bracket manufacturer Daher Socata (Tarbes, France) on all of its large fuselage element assembly lines for a major French manu- facturer of business aircraft, and at the Spirit AeroSystems A350 fuselage manufacturing facility in Kinston, NC, US, and Saint- Nazaire, France. Virtually ready With the exception only of the Virtalis installation at Airbus' Broughton facility, each VR and AR application covered here has followed successful implementation with rapid return on invest- ment. ese 3D visualization capabilities are providing composites engineers greater confidence that composites can be built and assembled as designed. is confidence is but one major benefit among many, not the least, the savings in time and material costs, the increase in part optimization, and other benefits already achieved by VR/AR technologies. Further, the data generated by VR/AR applications are expected to feed Deep Learning and other Smart Factory operations, taking the composites industry to even greater productivity and quality watersheds. A N N I V E R S A R Y 0 2 HPC Charter Advertiser Composites and Virtual Reality High Performance Polyamide Visit CAMX K18

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