Quality Control of Aerospace Structural Components

Scan-Xpress assisted Silvertone UAV and Amiga Engineering with quality control checks for an aerospace structural component. Our team specialises in quality control applications in various industries including aerospace. We were able to provide our customers with accurate full-field inspection, GD&T and CAD comparison reports. The following article summarises the project objectives, processes and results.

Silvertone UAV develop, design, and manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles with flexible payload capabilities. One of their drone aircraft systems, the Flamingo Mk3, carries a heavy package of telemetry and sensor equipment.

To improve flight efficiency, the pannier bracket that attaches the sensor package to the fuselage and supports the landing gear had a requirement to be re-designed to a lightweight alternative that retained the same mechanical performance.

Enter Topology Optimization and Additive Manufacturing – The existing design was put through Altair’s design topology optimization software to produce an organic freeform design that satisfied the required loading and boundary conditions.

The resulting geometry from topology optimization is usually not well suited to traditional manufacturing methods. However, additive manufacturing producing components via a layer-wise manner and has no limitation on the geometry that can be produced.

Amiga Engineering were contracted to manufacture this topology optimized component. The specimen was printed in Gr23 Titanium on a 3D systems ProX DMP machine in one continuous build.

The manufactured component achieved a significant weight reduction – 800 grams down from the original 4 kilograms, improved balance and rigidity, enhanced safety, longer flight times, increased payload capacity and better battery efficiency.

The Scan-Xpress team was contracted to measure the manufactured component using the high resolution ATOS Q and to perform critical quality control checks prior to installation.

Optical full-field 3D sensors are ideal for measuring free form surfaces generated from topology optimisation whereas traditional tactile CMMs would struggle to obtain enough discrete points to accurately assess the state of the component. The ATOS Q provided an accurate full field scan of the structure:

 

The high-resolution scan data (grey) can be aligned and overalayed with CAD model (Blue) as shown below.

 

Surface Deviations were calculated and displayed on a colour plot as displayed below. The information captured enabled Amiga Engineering to validate their production methods and perform simulations. It also provided information necessary to modify any input parameters for future production runs.

 

This type of critical feedback provided by the data quality of the ATOS Q was a driving factor for Amiga Engineering to purchase of a full system some months later. Read more here >

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