Boeing boosts inspection

Dec. 23, 2005
Laser systems measure in 3D for parts, tooling and machinery to 0.001 in.
Boeing Company’s Defense Systems Computer Aided Manufacturing Group in Seattle and its Commercial Airplanes division in Everett, Wash., are using 12 Laser Tracker Xi portable 3D-measurement systems to measure large parts, tooling and machinery. The Laser Trackers, from Faro Technologies Inc. (, cover a measuring range of 230 ft. and operate by bouncing laser beams off movable, reflective targets guided along surfaces that are being gaged. By simultaneously measuring two angles and distances, the units pinpoint target positions with an accuracy of up to 0.001 in. As users move targets from one location to the next, the lasers follow and record position points on software in their laptop computers. A built-in feature – XtremeADM – allows the systems to re-acquire beams without returning to reference points if the beams between the units and targets are interrupted. Laser Trackers compile 3D images of measured objects as digital files after all targeted points have been measured. Five Laser Trackers support defense programs at the Computer Aided Manufacturing Group, and seven systems provide measurements for Boeing’s 747 automated fuselage assembly program.