Rapid Advanced Non-Contact Measurement System

Period of Performance: 01/18/2013 - 01/18/2015


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: At the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) El Segundo composites manufacturing facility, large pallets containing as many as a dozen skin tools with skin panels that need to be machined are loaded into a large enclosed environmentally controlled precision milling machine (PMM). Unfortunately, to maintain tight tolerances, the skin panels must remain in the PMM enclosure post-machining, locked down on the tools while a time-consuming touch probe process is used to meet F-35 tolerance requirements. Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to continue the development of the Rapid Advanced Non-contact Measurement System (RANMS), demonstrated in Phase I of this program, which consists of a new 3D profilometer mounted in the spindle of the PMM, two laser tracker and intelligent target pairs following the motion of the PMM head, and a pair of 3D accelerometers to capture the last axis of motion of the PMM. All of these devices will be controlled with a computer system installed in the PMM control room that will be connected to the PMM control system and will listen to the PMM tape and watch the motion of the PMM to provide a true second source inspection system. BENEFIT: The new RANMS 3D profilometer is a direct replacement for current touch probes and has the potential to revolutionize the industrial metrology market. Touch probe metrology is inherently slow because to capture the measurement of any machined feature, the probe needs to touch the part in several places in different areas on the feature. The RANMS 3D profilometer returns a measurement of the entire machined feature in less than a second, and, if laser trackers are used to track the motion of the precision milling or drilling machine, a true second source measurement system is created that is fully qualified and extremely fast. The RANMS metrology system can initially be used ubiquitously in the aerospace manufacturing industry, where tight tolerances on large parts need to be maintained. Further commercial development and implementation of RANMS is possible in the automotive manufacturing industry and in the infrastructure manufacturing industry (e.g., steam turbines, power generators, wind power machines, gas turbines, hydroelectric turbine generators).