The assembly of the future is already a reality with TESTIA's SART system

Romain Guillot

2016/03/08 | 358 words | AVIATION WORLD NEWS | INDUSTRY / TECHNOLOGY
The assembly of the future is already a reality with TESTIA's SART system © Airbus Group

Augmented reality tools are revolutionising fuselage section assembly in the aerospace industry. Last summer, TESTIA, a subsidiary of Airbus Group which specialises in inspection and quality control, deployed its SMART system (Smart Augmented Reality Tool) at Daher in Tarbes, on all its large fuselage element assembly lines for a major French aircraft manufacturer specialising in business aviation.

The augmented reality tool developed by Airbus Group Innovation and marketed by TESTIA takes the form of a digital tablet with a camera which superimposes real images on top of the images from the digital model to quickly detect any drift in relation to the inspected elements. For Aurélien Cottet, Head of SMW (Smart Mobile Worker) at TESTIA, the SART system enables "inspection time to be optimised while reducing the risk of penalties relating to deviations in conformity".

He says that the SART system was initially developed to respond to a request made in 2009 to harmonise conformity in Airbus's factories. Known in-house as MiRA, the system was deployed from 2011 in the Airbus Group's 4 countries, for both commercial and military programs.

"The system is now installed on over 100 tablets and is used by a thousand people", he specifies, for upstream sub-system assembly but also for final aircraft assembly for which "the system is adapted to precise element geolocation". The Airbus Group's augmented reality tool has enabled system support inspection times to be reduced from 3 weeks to 3 days for certain Airbus Group product fuselages.

But TESTIA doesn't plan to stop there. According to our information, the system is already attracting interest from other industrial aerospace companies, particularly in the United States.

In addition, a projection module is already being tested in the Group, superimposing the digital model directly onto the element to be assembled in order to optimise the production processes. Aurélien Cottet is also identifying other potential applications for SART, such as maintenance and disassembly. "The assembly and disassembly scenarios may be used to train technicians, enhanced by experience over the years", continues Aurélien Cottet. This new module is already attracting interest from different TESTIA customers and is due to be marketed from the second half of the year.

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