3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry

3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry

Nov 19, 2021

As the aviation industry requires high precision parts and components, 3D scanning technology is ideal for the design, manufacturing, assembly, and MRO in the industry. This non-contact measurement technology can capture millions of data points to model and inspect complex parts such as turbines and engines. The high speed with which 3D laser scanning can capture the data also contributes to the minimization of airplane downtime.

Product Development

The focus of airplane manufacturing is shifting from technology-driven products with better performances to market-driven products with higher cost-efficiency. In response to the shifting needs, more and more aviation professionals are designing new models based on the original one instead of starting from scratch. Analysis methods like computational fluid dynamics have played a role in the design process.

With the help of 3D scanning technology, the structure of each part of the aircraft designed is scanned to generate 3D data. These data are then imported into professional software to create CAD models, which serve as a data basis for CFD analysis. CFD is used during initial analysis where various configurations can be tested, thus lowering the design costs. These data can also be used to measure and inspect minor structural deformations that occur during the flight operation test to optimize the design of airplanes.

3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry 1

Precision is the priority of airplane design since a minor error can hinder product development and result in performance failure. Three-dimensional technology, an efficient way to capture precise 3D data, helps to enhance the reverse engineering of airplane structural design. It serves as an intuitive guide for engineers to understand the design intention, technical features to craft airplanes with higher efficiency at lower prices.

3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry 2

With a large surface area, an airplane is not easy to be inspected with traditional methods due to their limited measurement areas. Handheld 3D scanner KSCAN-Magic features a built-in photogrammetry system that can enable large-scale scanning with an accuracy of up to 0.020 mm. It delivers measurement results in detailed and precise 3D data that can be used to further design and optimization.

MRO and Flight Damage Assessment

Air travel is known to be the safest mode of long-distance transportation in terms of accidents. There are strict international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization for the safety, security and efficiency of air transport. It is said that a Boeing 747 aircraft is introduced to the public with a full load of reference manuals.

Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) is crucial in the aviation industry. For in-service flights, the less time it is grounded for evaluation and inspection, the less potential revenue loss it may cause for airlines on condition that the inspection precision is not compromised. One-hour downtime for airplanes can result in huge financial losses for airline companies due to the huge amount of money that they have invested in.

With its excellent performance in terms of precision, efficiency, and portability, 3D scanning technology offers a way out for this dilemma.

Aircraft Wing Inspection

When the aircraft is in flight, its wings deform under aerodynamic load. The in-flight deformation of wings has a significant impact on the aerodynamic performance of an aircraft, which can not be inspected and qualified in an intuitive way. Traditionally, an airplane is subject to inspections based on established timelines or the number of hours in the air.

3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry 3

Scantech’s 3D solution suits well for the inspection of airplane wing deformation. The technicians acquire spacial positions of the wing with an photogrammetry system MSCAN and capture detailed 3D data with handheld 3D scanner KSCAN-Magic. When the measurement is complete, technicians compare the measurement results to the original CAD model to identify deformed areas. The real parameters like width, length, and depth of the defect are intuitively observed in color maps. The resulting complete digital copy ensures us that we are not missing anything.

3D Measurement of Engine Inlet Lip

Lightning strikes and bird strikes to airplanes are relatively common, which may  deform the fuselage and parts like engine inlet lip. In-time inspection and maintenance are necessities to maintain safe operation of airplanes and prevent potential accidents.

3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry 4

Traditionally, the detection is done by technicians based on visual inspections and pit gauges. These methods are too dependent on the operator and it takes hours to detect the dents, bulges, and wrinkles. With photogrammetry system MSCAN and handheld 3D scanner, Scantech helps MRO companies to acquire precise 3D data of the engine inlet lip so that they can identify areas with deformations efficiently. These data can prepare operators to act quickly and apply the most effective maintenance.

3D Scanning Solutions for Aviation Industry 5

More applications

Three-dimensional scanning technology can be applied to the inspection of aircraft parts manufactured. It can generate 3D models of different parts for virtual assembly. With virtual representations of physical models, it reduces the need for physical assembly prototyping. It is much more efficient to verify the accuracy of design, identify potential assembly errors, and modify the design model.

Scantech’s professional team is dedicated to providing all-in-one 3D solutions for your business. Click here to know more information about how 3D scanning can be used.