Reliable automated production of large aircraft components at PAG

19 July 2023 · 3 min read

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Reliable automated production of large aircraft components at PAG through high-precision API measuring services and SFIS measuring cell

For the final assembly of the door frames, Airbus supplier Premium AEROTEC (PAG) required automated, reliable quality assurance for the measurement of components in final production at its Varel site. The components are required for door assembly in various aircraft types.

The goal was to plan and implement a fully automated robot-assisted production line for these components. Due to the precisely offered services, Automated Precision Europe GmbH (API) received the order for the integration of the measuring cell into the production line of the components. The services included the measuring services, the measuring hardware and the programming for the planned measuring cell.

Produce large components with the highest precision

Premium AEROTEC GmbH (PAG) is one of the world’s leading suppliers (Tier 1 supplier) for civil and military aerostructures as well as an important partner in major European and international aviation programs. Core competencies include the development and manufacture of large and complex-shaped aircraft components made of aluminum, titanium and CFRP.

For the production of the door frames, very large components are to be measured fully automatically and robotically. The specifications were to require no more than 6 seconds per measuring point and the measuring accuracy should be between + / – 0.15 mm. The respective measuring volume is approx. 4m x 3m x 2m. Required were the hardware including the service, integration of the automation of the measuring side, i.e. creating measuring programs, communication with PLC and PLA and the adjustment and calibration of the assembly fixtures – all from one source. The robots of the production line have also been set up with the support of API.

Smart Factory Inspection System (SFIS) – for highly accurate automated part measurement on the shop floor

The real-time capable innovative SFIS system combines proven measurement technology with powerful calibration components within one system and was the appropriate solution for this task from PAG.

The API team built the system consisting of an API Radian Pro Laser Tracker and the precise API RapidScan infrared scanner. It was then customized according to the task through specific program developments. The Radian Pro Laser Tracker references the RapidScan, mounted on a robotic arm, and the position of the manufacturing robot in real time, providing the required accuracy. To inspect the large parts, the robot was mounted on a seventh traversing axis.

Extremely precise requirements were met by API’s SFIS measuring cell

Thanks to API’s reliable hardware and the programming carried out by the measurement experts during installation, the extremely tight requirements were met. The production line reliably measures the door frames in less than 6 seconds per measuring point with an accuracy of + / – 0.15 mm. The measuring volume of these components is up to 4m x 3m x 2m. To prepare the installation, the API team performed the calibration of all assembly fixtures, the entire assembly line, the measuring cell, the buffer stations and the pre-assembly. Now, the optical stereo image capture of the RapidScan’s 3.2 megapixel hybrid sensor captures the components and generates an ultra-high density 3D point cloud. The customized evaluation software extracts geometries and creates surface topologies that allow direct comparison with the CAD model.

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