Digital Twin Scan Data Automates Measurement For US Army

The Zeiss GOM 8360 ScanBox measures millions of points across aviation components and produces a 3D digital scan of parts in their real-world condition.  This approach to measurement is a step forward for current operations that have historically depended on calipers, micrometers, or feeler gauges as the primary measurement tools. “We’re excited about the 8360 ScanBox joining with our blue light scanning technology,” said Col. Joseph H. Parker, CCAD commander. “It’s going to make us faster and increase efficiencies.”

The 3D file is loaded into an inspection software to make parts evaluation easier for the artisan during damage assessment. The artisan can review the inspection report while also digitally traversing the landscape of the part to determine additional discrepancies in the surface. Artisans can also make more effective data-driven decisions that may reduce parts repair costs and provide quicker delivery to the customer. The technology augments the Complex Assembly Manufacturing Solution and the Logistics Modernization Program to keep visibility of shop floor operations, increasing the ability to streamline and improve production processes.

The 8360 ScanBox improves the damaged part assessment when parts first enter the depot, which aids in assessing required repairs. Once components have been through the repair process, the 8360 ScanBox provides a faster turnaround by documenting if repaired components meet aviation requirements prior to installation in the aircraft. This modernized measurement approach removes subjectivity inherent with previous inspection processes.

“The newly installed blue light scanning technology system enhances the depot’s ability to evaluate parts that historically were considered beyond economical repair, or did not have any approved repair processes, thus providing an opportunity to increase repair capabilities in multiple areas,” said Felipe Martinez, a force modernization specialist. “Our Production Engineering Directorate or engineers continue to identify, evaluate, test, and verify the applicability of blue light scanning across multiple weapon systems and maintenance processes.”

The 8360 robotic scanning system was strategically redeployed from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama to CCAD as part of a partnership between CCAD and the Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center (AvMC) Metrology Lab. The Collaborative Modernization Lab consists of AvMC and CCAD employees working together to forge the future of measurement, inspection, and reverse engineering & re-engineering capabilities.

DEVCOM AvMC Metrology Lab lead Benjamin Thomason said, “Industry is operating in the age of the digital thread. At CCAD, information across the enterprise is digitized and aggregated to enable data-driven decision making in support of Army Aviation Fleet readiness. The power of 3D is harnessed in various sectors such as design, analysis, and manufacturing. Through the strategic redeployment of the 8360 ScanBox, CCAD is now able to leverage automation to measure and inspect parts in the 3D domain. As part of the Army Futures Command DEVOM AvMC’s ManTech group, it is our job to identify critical technologies and then help to transition them to the organic industrial base. We have collaboratively demonstrated this scanning technology efficacy in the CCAD operational environment through our work in the Depot Collaborative Modernization Lab (DeCML).”

Automated non-contact 3D scanning is a disruptive technology with numerous possibilities for aviation readiness and modernization wins. The robotic scanning cell incorporates two mechanical arms where each arm is on a linear rail. Both robotic arms support a structured blue light non-contact 3D scanner. The system can capture scan data in three different data capture bays.

Thomason continued, “We also completed system checks that qualify the 8360 automated measurement system. We are now developing automated scanning routines and inspection templates for operational deployment into CCAD’s operations. At our core, we are here to partner with the Depots to enable modernization through technology transition to meet the readiness mission of today while ensuring the toolsets are in place to forge the future of tomorrow.”

“Deploying this technology to the production floor in the Pre-Shop Analysis and Examination and Evaluation groups will increase the speed, accuracy, and confidence of the dimensional checks required during the inspections of thousands of aircraft components,” said Forest Kelman, chief of Industrial Engineering Division.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 8360 ScanBox, the automated scanning process highlighted the speed of automated measurement and the resulting cost savings. According to Metrology Engineer, Adam Chaberek, the shaft extension produced in the demonstration saved the U.S. Army almost $50,000 per component. In forecasting productivity, the goal is to decrease future costs by lowering the potential for increased expenses; this technology is key to cost avoidance.

“If CCAD produced 40 of the demonstrated parts that would pay for the 8360 ScanBox in two years,” said Benson. Roderick Benson, Deputy and Chief Operations Officer, stated that if CCAD had purchased the robotic scanning system, the cost savings by replicating components would quickly pay for itself.

For more information: www.army.mil

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