Precision at all altitudes
ZEISS Aerospace Solutions
What challenges do aero components like blades pose for industrial metrology?
Griffiths: Airfoil products have unique free-form surfaces. All the efficiency and performance from these components come from their complex shapes, which push the boundaries of capability, theory and design. A 0.1% improvement of efficiency over the lifetime of an engine is worth millions of dollars. Those are the marginal gains that we pursue with our measurement and inspection equipment.
Bernardo: Even a small blade can pose big metrology challenges. Our solutions enable our customers to gather data that mirror the full manufacturing process and get a better overview of what’s happening in their production sites around the world, thus enhancing productivity in operations.
By one estimate, commercial aerospace will double every 15 years. How will this impact industrial metrology?
Griffiths: Productivity levels will have to improve. Factory footprints can be quite fixed, so processes have to become smarter. We have been making strong progress in developing hard- and software in order to improve productivity and efficiency — through better use of data, such as using 3D data to become more informed about a process, or to get greater connectivity between different manufacturing or inspection databases.
Bernardo: The aerospace industry will require a metrology characterized by a new dynamism in which quality, speed, and safety play a crucial and combined role. Components need to be tracked along their entire product life cycle and this challenge will eventually create innovations in handling quality data.
ZEISS is a pioneer in bringing metrology from measuring rooms to the shop-floor environment. Solving critical situations along manufacturing lines has been one of the reasons of our success over the last decades.
Many aerospace manufacturers want to further increase their productivity by integrating measurement and inspection right into the production line. Do you offer solutions for this today?
Bernardo: ZEISS is a pioneer in bringing metrology from measuring rooms to the shop-floor environment. Solving critical situations along manufacturing lines has been one of the reasons of our success over the last decades. On the other hand, production is a tough environment in which top technology gives maximum performance only if supported by high level of engineering. Together, we can now respond even better to our customers’ needs in the shop-floor.
What can our customers expect next from ZEISS and GOM?
Griffiths: They can expect a customer-centric organization with aero application engineers and teams of specialists around the world, close to our customers. We are constantly learning more about our customers’ challenges to determine where our technologies fit best. Our customers also have ideas on how to utilize our machines. Collaboratively, we are working to meet the challenges of our customers, so they become more competitive with our unique portfolio.
Bernardo: Working together was easy since the first day because we share the same culture. The application - meant as the customer’s challenge - becomes the main driver of our common mission. Our portfolio and dedicated teams will enable us to guarantee trustable results at the right cost and at the right speed. Therefore, bringing precision at all altitudes is not just a motto; it’s our promise to the aerospace industry.
Antonio Bernardo is the Head of Aerospace Solutions at ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions. Lee Griffiths is responsible for aerospace business development at GOM, headquartered in Braunschweig, Germany.