How In-Line Testing Improves Aerospace Manufacturing

In-line testing through Inora SRS helps aerospace manufacturers move from the lab to the factory floor.

When it comes to achieving the highest standards of manufacturing excellence, few industries are as reliant on the quality and accuracy of their production output as aerospace. While simulation and prototypes can help engineers design better products, neither of these is sufficient without manufacturing processes that can reliably reproduce parts and components as specified in the original design.

Because of this, testing is critically important for aerospace manufacturers to maintain the quality of their final product. And yet, aerospace manufacturers are also operating in a tight industry, where every delay leads to higher costs. This puts a lot of pressure on aerospace manufacturers to find cost-saving measures without sacrificing the integrity of their testing process. Advanced in-line testing technology may be the solution they’re looking for.

The difference between in-line and off-line testing.

For most industries, off-line testing is the standard procedure. Parts and components are removed to a lab where the tests can be run without getting in the way of the production workflow. Once the testing is complete, the parts can be resume their place on the assembly line and the next round of testing begins. However, this process, while it removes some potential bottlenecks on the factory floor, also adds delays which can be costly.

An Airbus production facility in Britain recently introduced a new project to improve a hydraulics test on the wings in their facilities. Their previous tests took twelve hours, during which time no one could work on the wing due to the presence of corrosive liquid in the wing pipeline. The new testing process used a giant, inflatable barrier that shielded the testing area while allowing the rest of the assembly line to move ahead. This solution shaved over seven hours off the production cycle, and also eliminated the need for Airbus to construct new testing bays, saving the company $2.8 million USD.

This is more than just a creative solution to a production challenge at Airbus. It also perfectly demonstrates the many benefits that result from being able to successfully conduct quality control tests during the production process, rather than having to remove parts to a separate location.

So, while the specific solution adopted by Airbus may not apply to many other industries, the overall principle is clear: those companies that can conduct supply line testing on the factory without having to remove components to testing labs can accelerate their production process without compromising the quality of their output.

Inora SRS allows for more tests with greater accuracy.

When it comes to any kind testing, it’s not just the parts that need to be checked. The testing machines themselves must be regularly validated to ensure they deliver accurate measurements. Even those companies that manage to incorporate in-line testing into their production flow often have to routinely take the testing machines themselves off-line for verification.

Inora Spatial Reference System (SRS) addresses this challenge by allowing aerospace manufacturers to move their machine verification procedures onto the factory floor. Instead of needing to remove machine components to a lab for testing, Inora SRS can provide validation checks in a matter of minutes without needing to take your machine and measurement tools out of the production stream.

The ease and rapidity of these tests not only makes them more convenient, it also means you can run more of them over the course of a day—and at more places in your production process. With additional testing, you can find more places for improvement along your production line, reduce the possibility of error, and take increased measures to ensure the overall quality of the final result.

Integration with IoT.

Inora SRS does more than improve the in-line testing workflow. It’s also the first step aerospace businesses can take toward a manufacturing process that is fully integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT). As more and more manufacturing equipment enabled with smart technology enters the workflow, the capabilities of enhanced, automated assembly lines grow.

Inora SRS, as part of an IoT environment, brings your testing in-line and on-line. As part of a live production and development line, Inora SRS optimizes automated technology, while delivering real-time updates to your engineers about the configuration and alignment of their manufacturing tools. The faster engineers can identify and correct misalignments, the more efficient their production line becomes.

In-line testing with Inora SRS is the first step toward a more connected production line.

The verification capabilities of Inora SRS are only the beginning. When combined with the point-cloud matching technology of Inora Affinity Systems (ASYS), they can conduct part inspection and monitoring to further streamline the production process. The final step would be full integration with an autonomous facility that could operate production and testing simultaneously and with minimal oversight.

If you would like to learn more about how our technology can be implemented in your manufacturing workflow, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to provide you with more detailed information about our capabilities and can consult with you about the best solution for your business.