Safran Nacelles launches new automated NDT platform that combines infrared thermography, augmented reality

This process was devised for the A320neo LEAP­1A and A330neo Trent 7000 nacelle programs.

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Safran Nacelles (Le Havre, France) has launched a new non­-destructive testing process (NDT) for composite panels of aircraft nacelles. The use of infrared thermography combined with augmented reality projection is a reported world’s first.

This process was devised for the A320neo LEAP­1A and A330neo Trent 7000 nacelle programs. The results showed a 50% less inspection cycle time and increase of availability of the equipment due to the separation of the controls and marking activities. Working conditions are also improved due to enhanced ergonomic software and easier controls.

"This is more than a new industrial method ­- it is an innovative process. The teams were mobilized in record time to find solutions for providing support to our customers," says Victoria Foy, managing director of Safran Nacelles in Burnley. "They put the group's highest expertise to use, as well as existing technological and digital tools, such as automation and augmented reality. The digital factory is now a reality at Safran Nacelles.”

This NDT process is based on a robot named IRIS (Infra Red Inspection System), which uses infrared thermography to read data. After data processing, the information is then analyzed by an inspector using special viewing software. Finally, if needed, it is projected on the part via augmented reality.

The use of infrared thermography on such large complex composite parts of varying thickness is unique. The augmented reality system ­instantaneously projecting all the areas to be checked directly on to parts measuring between 3m2 to 12m2 ­ is the first to be deployed by Safran.