Dassault Aviation's scanner has started proving its worth in airframe repairs, accelerating the damage description process.
Imagine a dent on a flat surface on an air brake. A maintenance technician can use the 3D scanner – a hand-held device – to create an image of the damaged component. A laser projects a grid, the deformation of which is measured by two cameras. From there, the associated software program draws the part in three dimensions.
On the resulting image, the technician points at a “healthy” area (such as the flat surface that neighbors the dent). Also factored in is the thickness of the area. This gives the program enough information to build an accurate picture of the dent, Samir Djoudi, structural design engineer, Dassault Falcon Service, explains.
3D scanning works well with PolyWorks, a dedicated metrology program, Djoudi explained.
The tool is particularly valuable when no solution has been documented for that particular damage, says Jean Kayanakis, senior vice president, worldwide customer service and service center network.
According to Kayanakis, time savings can be significant. The conventional, manual process can involve lengthy exchanges between the maintenance workshop and the design office. With 3D scanning, the early part of the damage repair process can be shortened to a few days, from two to three weeks.
Errors are brought to a minimum. With the current process, the value of a measurement can vary by a few tenths of a millimeter, depending on who performs it, Djoudi said. This can make the difference between an acceptable defect and one that must be repaired. The device Dassault uses for scanning, the Creaform HandyScan 3D, yields 0.01-mm precision.
Moreover, the tool improves working conditions. In case a technician has to go and measure damage from inside a confined area, he or she will spend less time there.
Training time can vary from half a day, to learn how to use the hand-held 3D scanner, to a day and a half to be autonomous with the post-acquisition data processing program. For a person with knowledge of computer-aided design who would like to become proficient by studying several cases, it can be one week.
Dassault now wants to deploy the tool in its network of company-owned service centers, including the recently acquired TAG Aviation and Execujet maintenance facilities.