The aerospace industry today faces a number of challenges when it comes to inspection of critical components. Tasked with constantly finding higher productivity while maintaining strict quality standards, aerospace manufacturers require robust solutions to balance quality and productivity needs.
As the aerospace industry has evolved, automation has become an essential component of production, particularly in inspection applications that often serve as a bottleneck in throughput. Despite ever-increasing levels of automation, aerospace manufacturers still face several challenges in finding fast, reliable inspections for composite and structural components.
Top Aerospace Inspection Challenges
Aerospace manufacturers may be diverse in what they produce, but they all share the same core challenges when it comes to part inspections. Some of the primary aerospace inspection challenges include:
- A wide variety of materials. Given the complexity of end products in aerospace, components are comprised of a wide range of different materials that may or may not have differing inspection needs. Inspection systems either need to be able to handle multiple components, or the manufacturer needs several types of inspection systems.
- Diverse component shapes. Aerospace components come in many different sizes and shapes. Among the most particularly challenging are the very large structural components that require advanced contour following from inspection systems.
- Reliable automation systems. In any industry, automation is known to improve throughput and cut cycle times, but the aerospace industry has unique requirements for accurate, quality inspections. Automated aerospace inspection systems need to be the best of both worlds.
Whether it’s ultrasonic inspection, laser metrology, 3D CAD inspection, or any other type of inspection, many of the same challenges remain for aerospace manufacturers.
Solving Inspection Challenges in Aerospace
Recently, a manufacturer of composite aircraft components in the aerospace industry was having difficulty inspecting parts. Existing inspection processes were slow and prone to inaccuracies, which hurt the company’s initiative to boost productivity and find more competitive pricing.
The components themselves posed an issue. There were several different part numbers, all of which were large, irregularly shaped parts, creating difficulties in establishing consistent processes and managing changeover times.
In the end, this manufacturer was effectively able to automate inspection of their components, and in the process, realize their productivity and pricing objectives. Learn more about how this manufacturer automated inspection by reading the robotic non-destructive inspection case study from Genesis Systems Group.