Safran Nacelles debuts non-destructive testing solution

Stéphane Cueille, Safran Senior Executive VP R&T and Innovation has launched the new non-destructive testing process (NDT) for composite panels of aircraft nacelles and the first use of infrared thermography combined with augmented reality projection, the company said.

This process was devised for the A320neo LEAP-1A and A330neo Trent 7000 nacelle programs for which production is expected to boom over the next three years. The results live up to the expectations: 50% less inspection cycle time and increase of availability of the equipment thanks to the separation of the controls and marking activities. Working conditions are also improved thanks to enhanced ergonomic softwares developed by Safran, and easier controls.

This NDT process is based on a robot named IRIS (Infra Red Inspection System), which uses infrared thermography to read data. After data processing, the information is then analysed by an inspector using special viewing software. Finally, if needed, it is projected on the part via augmented reality.

The use of infrared thermography on such large complex composite parts of varying thickness is unique. The augmented reality system – instantaneously projecting all the areas to be checked directly on to parts measuring between 3m2 to 12m2 – is the first to be deployed by Safran.

Safran is an international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace, Defence, and Security. Operating worldwide, the group has 66,500 employees and generated sales of EUR 15.8bn in 2016 (excluding security).

Safran Nacelles currently has over 18,400 devices in service, and over 110,000 flight hours per day. The company is active in all segments of the market, from regional jets and corporate aircraft to the largest airliners.