Before an airplane takes its first flight, it has to undergo countless inspections and certification procedures. The level of detail and processes required can be very demanding – even a tiny metal component for a window has to be thoroughly inspected before being fitted onto an airplane. These measures are necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers.
One such company that exemplifies this is HIZEAERO Co. Ltd. (Hizeaero), a Korea-based aerospace structure manufacturer, who utilizes the FARO Edge ScanArm HD to conduct its safety inspections across its projects.
Established in 1999, Hizeaero first started supplying aircraft wings to various domestic and international aircraft manufacturers. The company’s operations later expanded to include the entire aircraft manufacturing process, ranging from aircraft assembly to refurbishment maintenance, and the production of aircraft components – such as sheet metal machining and surface treatment. Some of the Aerospace industry’s biggest names are Hizeaero’s customers, and they include Boeing, AVIC International, Boeing Tianjin Composite, COMAC, ShinMaywa, ACM, ST Aerospace, Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. (KAI), Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines.
The 0.003-inch ultrathin Ti-Foil that is used in the rims of aircraft windows.
In 2016, Hizeaero signed a supply contract with Boeing’s subsidiary, Boeing Tianjin Composite (BTC) – a Chinese aircraft manufacturer. One of the key components that Hizeaero had to supply was the Ti-Foil, a film that will be inserted into the rim of an aircraft window.
The Ti-Foil is an ultrathin titanium film with a thickness of just 0.003 inch (0.076 mm), and this posed a major challenge to the team at Hizeaero, both in terms of production and inspection. This obstacle was a major push factor that led Hizeaero to invest in the FARO ScanArm.
Mr. Minkwon Yoo, a member of the Quality Assurance Team, shared, “While titanium is a very strong metal, it behaves very differently when it is just 0.003 inch thick. It’s highly malleable and can easily be bent with the slightest pressure. The handling of Ti-Foil alone was a major challenge.”
For these reasons, the team at Hizearo could not measure the Ti-Foil with an existing Fixed Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) that they had. As the material was incredibly thin, it was impossible to conduct inspections using conventional contact measurement methods. They came across the portable FARO ScanArm while sourcing for a suitable non-contact, scanning device to measure the Ti-Foil. Mr. Yoo said, “It was an easy decision as the device came highly recommended by our client, BTC. We valued their input as they have had first-hand experience using several of FARO’s contact measurement solutions with great success.”
The FARO ScanArm marks Hizeaero’s maiden experience with non-contact, scanning equipment.
One of FARO’s best-selling products, the FARO ScanArm offers contact measurements using a probe as well as noncontact measurements through its integrated Laser Line Probe (LLP). With a 7-axis rotation and it’s a human-like arm design, the device provides users with maximum versatility and a measurement range of up to 9 feet (2.7m). Capable of scanning at 560,000 points per second, the LLP captures even the most intricate components in fine detail.
The FARO ScanArm can be manoeuvred effortlessly and freely, offering users maximum versatility.
Once the Ti-Foil manufacturing process is complete, Hizeaero scans the Ti-Foil with the FARO ScanArm to ensure that it complies with the specifications laid out at the onset.
Inspecting the Ti-Foil by using the FARO ScanArm laser scanner.
Ti-Foil Inspection Chart.
Using the FARO ScanArm, measurements for the Ti-Foil are quickly captured in seconds without direct contact, and the information captured includes length, R value, and angle.
Inspecting the holes on the Ti-Foil Check Fixture using the contact probe.
Hizeaero also uses the contact probe on the FARO ScanArm to inspect the check fixtures used in the Ti-Foil manufacturing process. Specifically, the team uses the device to perform a temperature compensation check. This is to ensure that the fixture (made of metal) maintains its original size and shape, so that it accurately measures 14 inches of Ti-Foil. The team does this by measuring the holes on the check fixture.
• Ease of Usage
“The device was extremely easy to handle,” expressed Mr. Yoo,. A former CMM operator, he appreciated the ease of use and the intuitiveness of the FARO ScanArm, features that the fixed CMM did not possess. Due to these factors, less time is required A former CMM operator, he appreciated how the FARO ScanArm is far more intuitive and significantly easier to operate, compared to the fixed CMM. As a result, less time is required to train his staff as well.
• Free Mobility and High Precision
As BTC required measurements of 10 specific locations to ensure accurate inspections, the portability feature of the FARO ScanArm came in handy. This allowed Hizeaero to conduct high-precision measurements anywhere, and at any time. “Even when the surface plate is in use, the ScanArm can run inspections quickly in another part of our production facility.”
• Ease of Reporting
“The automated report generation feature is very easy to use. The layout is neat and simple, and we no longer have to do manual data entry in Excel!”
Reports are generated in real-time as measurements are taken.
At Hizeaero, the FARO ScanArm is the only measurement device used in the manufacturing process of the Ti-Foil. With each batch of production, all sample tests are conducted by the FARO ScanArm.
Without the support of the FARO ScanArm, measuring the Ti- Foil would be significantly more complex and time consuming.
On the possibility of further growth in measurement capabilities, Mr. Hwajoon Cha, Assistant Manager at Hizeaero, who is responsible for the measuring equipment used by the Quality Team, says that they are looking to purchase additional sets of FARO ScanArm in the near future.
“Currently, we are only using the FARO ScanArm to inspect the TiFoil. However, after much success with the device, we are seriously considering it for a variety of other tests in the future. For instance, we can improve on how our tool inspections and sheet metal inspections are carried out. While it will take some time to seek approval, I think incorporating such advanced technology is necessary for us to obtain uniform and standardized results.”
Mr. Cha is optimistic that the use of FARO ScanArm will soon become the norm in the domestic aviation industry, and Hizeaero looks forward to building a brighter future in close partnership with FARO.
Established in 1999, HIZEAERO Co. Ltd. (Hizeaero) is a Korea-based aerospace structure manufacturer that began as a supplier of aircraft wings to various domestic and international aircraft manufacturers. Hizeaero’s operations later expanded to include the entire aircraft manufacturing process, ranging from aircraft assembly to refurbishment maintenance, and the production of aircraft components – such as sheet metal machining and surface treatment.
In 2017, Hizeaero set up its third factory in Busan occupying a total area of 11,000 square meters. With over 450 employees, Hizeaero strives to do its best to serve the world through its aerospace technology, producing world-class products together with their clients.
Further information: www.hizeaero.com
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