Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Laser-Guided Ply Locating System
McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis has installed a Laser Guided Ply Locating system (manufactured by General Scanning) for composite part manufacturing. The system uses lasers to project the outline of the individual plies and cut-outs directly onto a hard tooling locator tool.
The traditional method for locating composite plies consisted of using either a Mylar locating template or a hard tooling locator. The Mylar was difficult to use because the mechanic was required to work under the Mylar, making it more difficult to detect foreign material. Hard tooling locators are expensive and cumbersome and to locate plies, multiple locators are frequently required to accommodate all the plies. The mechanic must manually scale off a known ply to determine the location of an unmarked ply. The Laser Guided Ply Locating system eliminates these locators.
The system consists of two machine controllers, one factory workstation, two Class 3A laser projectors, and a frame support for the projectors. Each projector has a work area of 10 feet by 10 feet. The projectors can be used independently to concurrently display different parts. The projectors can also be used together, each displaying half the part, for a total work area of 10 feet by 20 feet. The system can be programmed off-line or manually (teach mode). Accuracy is +0.015-inch from any point in the projection field to any other point in the field.
One Laser Guide System is installed and program development is in progress. A second machine will be operational in May 1995. Training and acceptance testing will be completed by the end of June 1995. The total cost to implement these two machines was $270,580. The projected savings over five years is $560K.
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