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Aerospace Industry: Measurement, Inspection & Analysis are Hot Topics

October 15, 2008
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DEARBORN, MI, September 11-The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) asked more than 300 aerospace manufacturing professionals, “What is the biggest issue regarding quality, facing manufacturers today?”

More than half of those surveyed indicated a need to understand new information on the latest technologies and acquire updated skills in the areas of measurement, 54%, inspection, 55%, and data analysis, 52.3%.

SME’s survey not only uncovered the unique, daily quality challenges leading aerospace manufacturers encounter-lead time pressures, supplier quality issues, recognizing inaccurate date-but also provided a framework for the society to develop a new event.

Set for November 18 to 19, 2008, SME’s Aerospace Measurement, Inspection & Analysis Conference is designed to meet the needs of such aerospace professionals as manufacturing directors, new product engineers, design and manufacturing engineers and the like through best practice sessions and networking opportunities.

Co-located with the AeroTest America 2008 Expo & Forum, November 18 to 19, 2008, at the Forth Worth Convention Center. SME’s conference will be broken down into two distinct days of best practice sharing: measurement & inspection and data analysis.

“The conference is intended to bring together the tips, the tools and the experts needed to help the aerospace industry move a product as cost-efficiently and safely as possible from the factory floor to the air,” says SME Executive Director and General Manager Mark C. Tomlinson.

Day one will present discussions from leading aerospace companies such as Northrop Grumman and Boeing. In particular, Northrop Grumman’s Tim Shinbara, Jr. and Jeremy Barrows will discuss solutions and new technologies for in-process inspection, while Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Michael Lazar will present “Measuring Large Aircraft Structure with Laser Radar.”

Additionally, an expert from Parker Hannifen will talk about specific measurement challenges aerospace manufacturers face when working with suppliers. Finally, a networking reception on the AeroTest 2008 show floor will cap off the day.

Day two is devoted to data collection and analysis.

“Collecting data is only part of the process of getting quality right the first time. Analyzing it and figuring how it can be used to improve daily processes and eliminate mishaps will ultimately help a project finally take flight,” says Tomlinson.

Some specific highlights of day two include a presentation from Jesse Boyer of Pratt & Whitney. Boyer will cover 3-D surface, noncontact inspection technologies and how these methods ensure repeatable, and above all, accurate results. Other discussion topics are “Export Control Challenges” and “Advanced 3-D Imaging Technologies for Reverse Engineering Aging Aircraft.”

An “Ask the Experts” industry panel and daily wrap-up will round out the Conference.

“SME is pleased to welcome some of the industry’s top experts who will offer real world solutions for real world problems in daily aerospace operations,” says Tomlinson.

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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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