Airbus is demonstrating its pioneering spirit to build the world’s best aircraft with an innovative new tool that is ready to increase efficiency and save time on the A330 final assembly line.
Working with an industry partner, the company has developed a revolutionary “connected” glasses tool, which is worn by final assembly line technicians to enable precise positioning – down to the millimetre – during the cabin installation marking process, when operators designate the exact location where seats and cabin furnishings should be affixed inside the aircraft.
The head-worn technology features a camera – to scan barcodes so the user can see the specific cabin plans and information based on individual customer requirements, as well as view the marking zone. The glasses also feature an offset screen that displays several navigation icons and items in augmented reality. In addition, when the mark has been made, its location is checked by the tool to validate the operation.
Interactivity with the technology is provided via voice recognition, using simple English commands to avoid interference from the French-speaking environment at Airbus’ Clément Ader facility in Toulouse, France, where final assembly for the popular A330 Family occurs.
This innovative tool has reinvented Airbus’ marking operations, which previously required highly-experienced operators to decipher complicated drawings, convert measurements between imperial and metric units, and prepare marking templates, while maintaining concentration for long periods of time during the highly-involved and physically-demanding task.
Following a quick development time after the project’s launch in January, the first prototype of the tool was available in February for initial testing and validation. To date, the glasses have been evaluated on five aircraft, allowing Airbus to make significant observations of its application on the A330 final assembly line.
“With our new tool, time spent per aircraft on marking operations is divided by six with an error rate reduced to zero, regardless of the user's experience. Even newcomers, after a short training session, can now be entrusted with this activity,” said Benoit Rollin, Head of Manufacturing Engineering for A330 cabin furnishing. “This aspect is very important at the moment as we adjust staffing to deal with production ramp-ups across our product line of commercial jetliners.”
Now mature, the technology is currently being implemented in A330 cabin furnishing operations, with its usage also envisioned on the final assembly lines of the company’s other market-leading aircraft.