Airbus Uses Smart Glasses to Improve Manufacturing EfficiencyIan Wright
posted on March 28, 2017 |
“Smart glasses” – developed through a team-up between Airbus and Accenture – enable greater efficiency and time savings during the aircraft outfitting process.
The aerospace industry tends to lead the way when it comes to finding manufacturing applications for emerging technologies. Whether it’s using drones for quality assurance
or 3D printing the world’s most famous nozzles
, if a cutting-edge technology can be used to improve manufacturing efficiencies, you can bet you’ll find it in aerospace first
Take augmented reality (AR), for example. Airbus technicians have been using “smart glasses” developed in partnership with Accenture to enable millimeter-precise positioning during the cabin installation marking process.
The head-mounted technology features a camera to scan barcodes so the user can see specific cabin plans and information based on individual customer requirements, in addition to viewing the marking zone. The glasses also feature an offset screen that displays navigation icons and other AR items. In addition, when the mark has been made, its location is checked by the tool to validate the operation.
The smart glasses were initially used on series-production A330s on the Toulouse, France final assembly line. The success of that program led to the deployment of smart glasses technology in mounting flight test equipment last year on the No. 2 A330neo. The company will also deploy the smart glasses this November aboard the No. 3 A330neo aircraft.
“Before the arrival of smart glasses for in-cabin applications, we had to decipher complex drawings and convert imperial measurements into metric measurements in marking the position of the equipment on the cabin floor,” said Cédric Gardon, Airbus’ industrialisation technical manager for flight test installation. “We were surprised at how much time we saved. The operation used to require three people and three days; now it requires one single operator and six hours.”
With the use of smart glasses now well established, Airbus is reportedly looking at broader cabin outfitting possibilities in A330 final assembly line applications, and eventually expanding the process to other aircraft programs as well.
For more news from Airbus, find out how the company streamlines ground vibration testing for the A350-1000.