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A Robust and Effective Approach Towards Accelerated Dent-mapping using a Purposebuilt 3D Optical Inspection Tool

HOWARD CHUNG, PIA BÖTTCHER, ERIK KLAAS, ARUN CHHABRA

Abstract


Dent-mapping of the aircraft skin remains a critical component in today’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry. In addition to effectively and efficiently mapping dents on aircraft during regularly scheduled Base Maintenance, inspectors on the ground are under much higher time-pressure to complete the same dent-mapping task with high accuracy during unplanned Line Maintenance. This is a phenomenon that constantly plagues the MRO industry as pressure to reduce aircraft turn-around-time (TaT) continues to increase. Traditional manual methods are subjective, inaccurate, inconsistent, and extremely time-consuming. In pursuit of a technology that offers total efficiency gains in an end-to-end digital dent-mapping workflow, 8tree proposed the following requirements: (1) Zero-programming and minimal learning curves so that workers of all skill levels can operate the tool; (2) No special surface preparation requirements; (3) No post-processing software packages or need to develop specialized metrology knowledge; (4) Handheld portability and ease of maneuvering. This paper highlights the successful integration of a 3D digitization technique – structured-light scanning, and the proprietary analytics developed by 8tree to solve chronic surface inspection problems within the MRO industry. The principle of operation of dentCHECK®, a novel 3D digital surface inspection tool, as well as the design principles that helped shape the product during the early product development days will be discussed. In addition, two use cases – blend out assessment, and lightning strike assessment will also be discussed.

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