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What Manufacturers can Learn from the Aerospace Industry

Updated: Jun 2

Creating spaceships and airplanes is known to present some of the most extraordinary manufacturing and engineering obstacles mankind has ever stumbled across. Luckily, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand and take advantage of the technologies and solutions that are used to build these rockets!


How Manufacturers are Benefiting by Using 3D Metrology and Aerospace Manufacturing Methods


The Aerospace and Defense industry embraces some of the most progressive manufacturing processes. These technologies include impressive creation technologies, from spot-on additive manufacturing (a.k.a 3D printing) to more traditional processes like sheet metal fabrication, Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machining, and injection molding.


Recently, manufacturers of almost any product can quickly boost their profitability and productivity by studying the unique approaches taken by the aerospace industry to prevail over the many challenges they go through, such as rework and multiple engineering modifications.


Over time, the analytics and data resulting from cutting-edge, laser-based 3D metrology also significantly improved the complete building and manufacturing process, by creating more productive solutions to better supply contracts.


Advanced 3D Metrology is also ideal for assembly and large production environments. It reduces faults and subsequent bottlenecks, improves accuracy, and significantly decreases errors.



SWaP-C Factors


Presently, the Aerospace and Defense applications call for high performance in small form factors. Thus, it is essential for Aerospace and various other manufacturing verticals to consider the size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C). It is vital to factor these elements within the scheme of an all-embracing product or system.


With the snowballing pressure to uncover ways of being more competitive in the deployed military market and the ongoing proliferation of tiny Unmanned Airborne systems, the number of platforms needing the SWaP-C solutions is going way off the charts.

The SWaP-C term is popularly used in Aerospace and military design. In theory, as long as you reduce the weight or size while maintaining the quality and strength simultaneously, you will see a positive effect on the cost and/or power elements of the SWaP-C formula.


The use of composites has become quite common in the aerospace industry, primarily due to its outstanding strength to weight ratio. According to the SWaP-C framework, the lighter the parts, the lesser power aircraft will consume.

This ultimately results in an array of benefits:

  • Fuel savings

  • Time aloft

  • Increased payload

Initially, upon introducing these composites, their distinctive properties had significant effects on the SWaP-C’s power and weight aspects.


However, the production and engineering’s labor-intensive nature with composites did not minimize the cost factor. This is where laser scanning and laser projection technology comes in.


Laser Scanning & Projection Solutions at ScanTek


Using Laser Scanning and Projection Solutions ideally results in a 50-75% labor savings compared to traditional physical template and measuring methods.


Below are some asset-intensive industries that benefit from ScanTek’s solutions:


1. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)


3D Scanning and Laser Projection Solutions are swiftly altering the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry by allowing contractors to take on various intricate and geometric-concentrated projects more now than ever.

Our experts are renowned for helping specialty contractors and architects transform their immersive designs into reality.


Learn more about our Laser Scanning for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Services.


2. Government and Defense


Technology is rapidly evolving at an unbelievable pace. There are several advancements to help increase the accuracy and efficiency of work.


Our state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning and reality capture solutions are implemented by the Department of Defense to give you an accurate, safe, and reliable means of collecting data.


Our multi-purpose solutions include manufacturing, design, reverse engineering, production, and surveying.


Learn more about our 3D Laser Scanning for Government and Defense Services.


3. Oil & Gas Applications


Logistically, oil and gas operations are the most challenging and costly projects in the world. In any instance, the system or equipment can malfunction, break down, cause temporary shutdown and production loss, and cause significant setbacks.


Our team believes that project plans and drawings are only as strong as the data that is used to produce them. We understand the significance of minimizing the loss of work and the amount of downtown.


Learn more about our 3D Laser Scanning for Oil & Gas Applications Services.

Bringing the Idea of Space Manufacturing on the Ground


Modern technological advancements are bringing forth greater opportunities and far more efficient construction methods that improve in one (or more) principles of the SWaP-C formula.


This is applicable on all composite manufacturing verticals such as trucks and trailers, buildings, marine, miniature aircraft, ships, automotive, private yachts, wind turbines, and several other composite use cases, including suppliers of aerospace tier 1, 2, and 3. It is now vital to use Laser Scanning and Projection technology for composite and Aerospace manufacturing.


At ScanTek, our Laser Scanning and Laser Projection solutions has also proved itself as a valuable and cost-effective material in the overall manufacturing industry.


Suppose you are using composites to build a wind turbine motor or racing bicycle. In that case, you need to maximize its strength and minimize weight. This is where the concepts of detail engineering step in. You need to decide how many plies and the fibre placement that is required to strengthen the structure while simultaneously minimizing the weight. Laser Projection serves as a preeminent tool in composites. It enables you to position the tiny pieces within the lay-up in particular areas.


Most composite lay-ups require multiple plies. Using old and outdated tools can slow down the lay-up and templating process, making it harder, exhausting, and inaccurate. With our Laser Projection solutions, the outlines / templates of what plies need to be placed are directly projected onto the surface in laser-guided lay-ups. This guides you at every step as the composite is being built.


The ability to make engineering-related changes, like adding segmented plies, has also brought about an array of opportunities for progressing in engineering applications and design, as this technology has often been overlooked as something entirely explicit to Aerospace manufacturing.


It is crucial to eliminate the time required to construct the physical templates to cut down on manufacturing and innovation costs. With the help of Laser Projection, the pain points of the Engineering Change Order (ECO) Process can be reduced significantly.


When the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) model is altered or revised, Laser Projection alterations can be uploaded on a computer that controls the projector. This change can be instantly executed on the subsequent production unit.


Benefits of Using Laser Projection


Laser Projection, amongst other methods, is used by all the leading organizations in the Aerospace industry. The unconventional benefits of using laser projection include eliminating or reducing the 3 T’s, namely:

  • Tools

  • Tape Measures

  • Templates

This ultimately leads to an array of benefits, including:

  • Reduced rework

  • Eradicated or minimized scrap / waste

  • Increased throughput

  • Shorter layout & measurement time

  • Eliminated or minimized the need for physical templates / templating.


Laser Projection on the Production Floor


Effective risk management tends to make a significant difference between making profits and breaking even for most composite manufacturers. Based on the intricacies and size of parts and how far down the production line they might have gone, even a single template or piece of scrap can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Sometimes, production delays result in contractual penalties, which might be greater than the cost of material scrapped. With laser-guided and computer assembly, there can be a significant reduction in the likelihood of encountering defects during the manufacturing and installation process.


Return on Investment


Faster lay-up time & assembly, eliminated or minimized rework & scrap, and enhanced accuracy and quality are things that add to the return-on-investment (ROI) for any industry or organization.


Conclusion

Advanced technologies such as Laser Projection might be making inroads on aspects like a low price, high quality, and faster turnarounds. More productivity plus minimized rework ultimately equals lower production costs. Low production costs lead to more significant profit margins.


Greater profit margins enable you to sell higher-quality products at reduced prices while still increasing revenue. From Aerospace to custom bicycles to automotive, you are clearly missing out on the highest value if you are not using the most advanced technology.


Our 3D laser scanning applications are vast, but the objective is only one; to offer safe, actionable, highly accurate and precise measurement solutions.


Our software solutions and integrations with lidar technology, allow our engineers to quickly analyze the data, on or off-site.


Get in touch with our team of professionals to learn more about our solutions!

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