The aerospace industry plays a crucial role in a country’s economy and national defence. The technical advancement in aerospace helps in safe travel, increases communication, and contributes to the globalization of supply chains. Since the Wright Brothers flew the first flight in 1903, the aerospace industry has made tremendous progress. It has contributed to great achievements, from being the fastest mode of transportation to being able to travel in space. As the aerospace industry is tasked with higher productivity solutions, it constantly faces a lot of challenges while inspecting critical components to balance the two concepts - productivity and quality. It becomes responsibility of the aerospace manufacturers to overcome the challenges identified during aerospace inspections.
Aerospace manufacturers may be diverse in what they produce, but they all share the same challenges when it comes to inspections of the parts and assemblies. Whether the inspection is visual, ultrasonic, 3D CAD, laser metrology, or any other method, the challenges remain the same for aerospace manufacturers.
Some of the primary aerospace inspection challenges include:
1. Procurement of raw material and parts from different suppliers
The defense and aerospace supply chains can be challenging as the procurement of material comes from thousands of suppliers and subcontractors. Achieving the required operational excellence along with quality and cost management can be a key challenge. Different raw materials from distinct sources require various inspection approaches. The inspection system should be capable of handling multiple components with expert knowledge of individual processes. Due to the nature of the industry and criticality and diversity of materials and parts/components, the inspection in aerospace industry needs several inspection systems best suited for the specific application and purpose.
2. Pats and assemblies size and shapes variations
Aerospace parts and assemblies do not come in the same size. They are brought in different sizes and shapes. The abnormally large components require advance contour followed by an inspection system.
3. Accurate and reliable automation
The aerospace industry is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Although, aerospace has embraced new technologies like AI and robotics, automated aerospace inspection system is the best solution to get accuracy in the inspection. When the components are different shapes and sizes and have high level of precision, an effective automation inspection system provides accurate inspection realizing their productivity and pricing objectives.
To achieve accuracy and repeatability with high productivity, another common method for the inspection of aerospace structural parts is the inspection fixtures/tools.
AQSS Inc. is an ISO 9001 certified Third Party Inspection (TPI) company offering quality witness inspection services in different segments of the aerospace industry.