You are here

Hand-Held Fastener Surface Measurement


OBJECTIVE: Develop a handheld non-contact device that captures profiles of finished and unfinished aircraft surfaces. The device should also measure surface profiles of filled and unfilled fasteners relative to the surrounding surfaces. DESCRIPTION: Current methods of measuring fastener flushness in production of fifth generation fighter aircraft center on manual measurements using a three-foot dial indicator. This method has been proven to be minimally capable to measure flushness to the production installation tolerance requirements. Hand-held laser line scanners are also used; however, these devices only scan a single line of data across the surface to be measured. This information does not give the operator enough information to make a decision as to whether rework is necessary or whether tight tolerances have been achieved. There is a significant need for a hand held device that can capture, analyze and visually communicate to the operator, the surface profile of a small area that includes a fastener head surrounded by structure. Most development in the area of non-contact surface profile characterization is for systems which scan large areas covering many fasteners and don"t address localized scans. These large systems, while capable, are cumbersome and require significant computer skills and expensive capital investment. These systems also require time consuming setup and calibration prior to use and are not cost effective for smaller fastener count applications or limited line of sight access. A handheld device would provide the simplicity to be used by typical quality assurance personnel, aircraft assembler, or depot/field maintainer. This device would be highly portable and user friendly, and would be competitive with laser line scanner pricing. The device would be primarily used for fastener flushness and fill verification and"high fastener"troubleshooting activities. Other potential applications could be countersink depth measurement & seam validation of installed panels and filled gaps. It would be beneficial if the unit used existing data analysis software and was wireless with the ability to upload data to a computer for subsequent analysis. Desired accuracies and other supporting information will be provided during the solicitation period via the SITIS website. Proposals that seek teaming arrangements with aircraft prime contractors are encouraged to facilitate transition. It is strongly encouraged that the Phase II Design of Experiments test plan and execution be developed in coordination with an appropriate prime contractor and program office so that the data is of most use in determining system performance and readiness for use. Overall, the goal of this SBIR is to deliver a prototype unit that delivers requirements at an affordable cost. Phase I should focus on demonstration of a"proof of concept"and Phase II should focus on development, delivery, and initial field testing of a prototype. Both phases should include business case analyses, manufacturing assessments, and transition plans. Proposals that seek to perform"trade studies"or"technology surveys"are NOT encouraged - the focus is on providing demonstratable hardware at the end of Phases I and II. PHASE I: The focus of Phase I is on the demonstration of a proof of concept non-contact measurement system to measure fastener flushness. Perform analysis of scanning resolution at multiple fields of view would be performed to identify optimal operating parameters. Perform initial business case analysis, manufacturing assessment, and transition plan. PHASE II: Develop prototype unit based Phase I development. Perform Design-Of-Experiments (DOE) based testing to qualify measurement capabilities of prototype device. Deliver a prototype and perform initial field testing. Based on test results, identify (and perform if possible) required iterative modifications. Update business case analysis and manufacturing/transition plan. PHASE III: Perform remaining testing/modification to certify for use in an aircraft manufacturing/field environment. Deliver a unit that is optimized for manufacturing and affordability that will be available for purchase by the Department of Defense, other government agencies, and equipment manufacturers. REFERENCES:
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government