The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-2/W2-2022
08 Dec 2022
 | 08 Dec 2022


K. Pexman and S. Robson

Keywords: Aerospace manufacturing, terrestrial laser scanning, registration, feature extraction, drilling, geometric primitives, spherical targeting, point clouds, laser tracking, Industry 4.0

Abstract. Aircraft wing manufacture is becoming increasingly digitalised. For example, it is becoming possible to produce on-line digital representations of individual structural elements, components and tools as they are deployed during assembly processes. When it comes to monitoring a manufacturing environment, imaging systems can be used to track objects as they move about the workspace, comparing actual positions, alignments, and spatial relationships with the digital representation of the manufacturing process. Active imaging systems such as laser scanners and laser trackers can capture measurements within the manufacturing environment, which can be used to deduce information about both the overall stage of manufacture and progress of individual tasks. This paper is concerned with the in-line extraction of spatial information such as the location and orientation of drilling templates which are used with hand drilling tools to ensure drilled holes are accurately located. In this work, a construction grade terrestrial laser scanner, the Leica RTC360, is used to capture an example aircraft wing section in mid-assembly from several scan locations. Point cloud registration uses 1.5” white matte spherical targets that are interchangeable with the SMR targets used by the Leica AT960 MR laser tracker, ensuring that scans are connected to an established metrology control network used to define the coordinate space. Point cloud registration was achieved to sub-millimetre accuracy when compared to the laser tracker network. The location of drilling templates on the surface of the wing skin are automatically extracted from the captured and registered point clouds. When compared to laser tracker referenced hole centres, laser scanner drilling template holes agree to within 0.2mm.