Quality Magazine

API AWARDED BOEING CONTRACT

September 1, 2003
The Boeing Co. has awarded a contract to Automated Precision Inc. to supply laser-tracking systems.

ROCKVILLE, MD—The Boeing Co. (Chicago) has awarded a contract to Automated Precision Inc. (API) of Rockville to supply laser-tracking systems in support of the Wichita Division’s 737 Fuselage Integration Floor Universal Holding Fixture Program.

As part of the contract, API’s Laser Tracker II Plus system will replace the Boeing Laser Tracker (BLT), a first-generation tracker designed in-house by Boeing engineers. API, a manufacturer of laser-based metrology products, produced scanner and controller mechanisms for the BLT in 1995 and continues to provide support and maintenance for the program.

Laser trackers are used by Boeing to make critical measurements and alignments during 737 manufacturing. In this application, one fuselage section is joined to another section by using a tracker, mounted within the central fuselage section, to measure position and orientation relative to each section. Technicians at a control console observe updated position data and trigger section movements and alignments, performing coordinated linear and rotational moves using the servo positioners of the Floor Universal Holding Fixture.

The laser interferometer and absolute distance measurement position sensing devices, as well as optics, are housed in a compact, 19-pound assembly. The design adopts an on-the-shaft mounting of the laser head, allowing the laser beam to exit the tracker without going through a bending mirror. The approach minimizes thermally induced measurement errors.