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4/19/2016 | 2 MINUTE READ

Spirit AeroSystems deploys Airbus augmented reality tool for composite fuselage brackets

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Testia will supply the systems already used to reduce A380 bracket inspection from weeks to days.

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Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, KS, US) will deploy the Smart Augmented Reality Tool (SART), in two factories located in Kinston, NC, US, and Saint-Nazaire, France, where components for the Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft are produced. SART is being supplied by Airbus Group (Leiden, Netherlands) subsidiary Testia (Toulouse, France), which specializes in inspection and quality control solutions. One of its roles is to market the Mixed Augmented Reality (MiRA) solution under the name SART.

Airbus Group Innovation (Suresnes, France) developed MiRA technology to reduce the inspection time for tens of thousands of brackets that hold hydraulic pipes and wire bundles in place and attach them to the composite fuselage sections of the latest production aircraft.  Using a tablet-based interface equipped with a camera for visual inspection, operators superimpose a digital mock-up over “as built” reality. In other words, workers access the 3D model of the aircraft and compare the built and installed assemblies to their digital designs to inspect for missing, wrongly positioned or damaged brackets. At the end of the inspection, a report is automatically generated that includes details of any non-conforming parts which can be replaced or repaired quickly.

Airbus launched MiRA internally in 2010 to standardize quality across its global network of production facilities. Its first deployment in an Airbus manufacturing plant was in 2011. In use on the A380, A350 XWB and A400M production lines in French, German, and Spanish Airbus factories, MiRA reportedly dropped inspection time for the 60,000 to 80,000 brackets in the A380 fuselage from three weeks to just three days. TESTIA began selling SART outside of Airbus in 2015.The system has been deployed at composite bracket manufacturer Daher Socata, in its Tarbes, France headquarters, on all of its large fuselage element assembly lines for a major French manufacturer of business aircraft.

Spirit AeroSystems has been using SART, evaluating it in operational conditions for inspection and quality control of brackets for A350 XWB composite fuselages before they are delivered to Airbus.

“This contract is a new milestone for SART’s international development. It embodies the cooperation we initiated with Spirit two years ago,” said Denis Gardin, Managing Director of Testia Group and Senior Vice President, New Technology Ventures of Airbus Group. “Spirit confirmed to us that with SART, the Return on Investment was realized quickly through the time and costs saved during inspection and quality control checks.”

For more information about Airbus’ development and use of augmented reality and other digital technologies for aircraft production, see its online article, “Factory of the future”.

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