Fives Co-Developing Profilometer for Aerospace Composites

Fives and the National Research Council of Canada are collaborating on an advanced profilometer for the aerospace sector.


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Fives and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have joined forces to develop inspection technology for the aerospace industry. Increases in automated composite manufacturing techniques to produce large aircraft components have left the aerospace industry searching for solutions to manufacture reliable, safe and cost effective composite structures, according to the NRC. Working together to improve the efficiency of manufacturing composite parts, Fives and the NRC have been developing an advanced profilometer that will provide faster and more accurate part inspection.

“This project demonstrates our commitment to advancing state-of-the-art composite application technology with productivity-driven innovations, for both new and existing installations,” says Fives Machining Systems’ President and CEO Steve Thiry.

Based on an optical technology, the advanced profilometer for composite placement is said to have advantages over existing inspection technologies used for the same purposes. The in-process inspection technology is expected to help manufacturers meet strict standards by providing measuring information without limiting process functionality. Faster, better measurements will speed up manufacturing processes, reduce the risk of errors and help composite manufacturers to be more competitive.

Fives has already started the last testing stage of the next-generation profilometer with customers and is expected to begin commercializing the technology before the end of 2019. The NRC and Fives say that they will continue to work together to advance this technology.

“The National Research Council of Canada is proud to work with Fives to advance the profilometer technology, pioneered by a multidisciplinary NRC team,” says Iain Stewart, president of the National Research Council of Canada. “Our expertise, paired with Fives’ forward-thinking methods, will help achieve the original vision of developing an innovative, high-impact solution that enhances the efficiency of automated composite manufacturing and facilitates the digital transformation of the process.”


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