Honeywell announced today that it will lead a team of industry experts to develop and market an automated system for the rapid inspection of the surface of an aircraft for corrosion or other structural anomalies.
The new system, dubbed Structural Anomaly Mapping (SAM) is a laser guided and computer controlled robotic platform approximately 6ft wide by 9ft in length with a vertical mast and a horizontal extension that supports and positions acoustic and laser sensors.
According to Honeywell, SAM is designed to scan an entire aircraft in hours with no human interaction and without removing the aircraft from flight status. SAM will reportedly deliver 3-D digital visualisation of the inspection results for maintenance evaluation. These results can be quickly compared to previous inspections on the same aircraft or measurements on other aircraft in a fleet to identify any developing problems.
Traditional aircraft surface inspection methods or localised and manual x-ray/ultrasonic scans can often take days and are dependent upon interpretation with variability.
‘SAM is capable of detecting and tracking subsurface defects such as composite delaminations, honeycomb damage, and metal corrosion,’ said Bernd Kessler, Vice President & General Manager, Honeywell Aviation Aftermarket Services.
‘The co-ordination of the inspections through the database system across an aircraft fleet will ensure that developing problems are detected and addressed sooner, helping our customers reduce the time and cost of maintenance.’
Honeywell is working with BBA Diagnostics, LLC (BBAD) to develop and market the new Structural Anomaly Mapping System for a wide variety of user applications including business, commercial and military aircraft.
BBAD is a joint venture between BBA Aviation Services Group and Advanced Power Technologies (APTI) to develop real time imaging technology to identify and track indications of anomalies in aircraft structures.