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A hand-held measurement tool which reduces panel inspection time

News International-French

24 May 2016

According to Third Dimension, its GapGun measurement system reduces MRO inspection times for interior and exterior composite panels by almost 90 per cent.

Leonardo Helicopters, a military helicopter manufacturer is conducting a trial on servicing of AgustaWestland Merlin helicopters at the Royal Navy’s base at Culdrose.

GapGun, a hand-held laser measurement tool, enables a quick, accurate and detailed profile measurement to be taken of the depth of scratches on helicopter panels and aircraft gearbox components. This enables operators to establish whether the depth of the scratches are within the 0.15mm limit, and therefore determine whether the parts need to be repaired or replaced.

Using GapGun, measurements are repeatable meaning they are consistent no matter who conducts the investigation whereas previously results differed from one operator to the next.

Since introducing the GapGun, the time it takes to inspect individual panels has been reduced.

While quantifying the total man-hours and money the GapGun saves per aircraft is still being measured, a process which could take up to eight months, Keith Masterton, AgustaWestland’s Merlin Depth Business Manager, said: “We recently did a check on a panel and, whereas the previous manual process using a depth gauge took two-and-a-half hours, the GapGun measures it in just 20 minutes.”

Previous inspection systems were more time consuming using a depth gauge with parts being taken away for inspection, often for days at a time.

In addition to servicing Naval helicopters, Leonardo is also using the GapGun to quickly and efficiently assess unused aircraft panels to see if they can be put to future use.

The GapGun can be applied to virtually all manufacturing industries for quality inspection and is already being utilised in the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors.

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