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Automated Metrology Solution to Reduce Downtime and De-Skill Tooling Recertification

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published September 10, 2012 by SAE International in United States
Automated Metrology Solution to Reduce Downtime and De-Skill Tooling Recertification
Citation: Flynn, R., Christensen, K., and Ryan, R., "Automated Metrology Solution to Reduce Downtime and De-Skill Tooling Recertification," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 5(1):49-56, 2012,
Language: English


Wing and fuselage aircraft structures require large precise tools for assembly. These large jigs require periodic re-certification to validate jig accuracy, yet metrology tasks involved may take the tool out of service for a week or more and typically require highly specialized personnel. Increasing the time between re-certifications adds the risk of making out-of-tolerance assemblies. How can we reduce jig re-certification down time without increasing the risk of using out-of-tolerance tooling? An alternative, successfully tested in a prototype tool, is to bring automated metrology tools to bear. Specifically, laser tracker measurements can be automated through a combination of off-the-shelf & custom software, careful line-of-sight planning, and permanent embedded targets. Retro-reflectors are placed at critical points throughout the jig. Inaccessible (out of reach) tool areas are addressed through the use of low cost, permanent, shielded repeatability targets. Simple locators enable adequate location of the tracker for each position, while automated tools within off-the-shelf software such as Spatial Analyzer provide a vehicle for very rapid measurements. Custom software guides the non-expert through the use of the metrology system so that the periodic “quick checks” are de-skilled, low cost, and fast.

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