In 2012, Lockheed Martin’s Manufacturing Technology engineers began brainstorming and evaluating methods to more accurately measure fastener features on contoured surfaces as opposed to visual inspection, legacy dial gauges, and single line laser metrology systems. These legacy systems required extensive training, lengthy measurement time, and were highly subject to interpretation by the user. The difficulty of using these methods was exponentially compounded on contoured surfaces and one of the key drivers of this development. Legacy systems were slowing down the production line, therefore this development was identified as essential to meeting F-35 rate requirements.
Government and internal funds supported the development of a tool that would revolutionize the way fasteners are inspected. Eventually, a handheld advanced laser profilometer metrology system consisting of 99 laser lines was down selected. In order to meet production tolerances, the tool required substantial accuracy in a package that is as easy to use as selecting a function and pulling the trigger. The final system design was completed and tested from 2015-2017. The FMT was fully implemented into production in October 2017. The system reduces touch labor 50%, improves measurement accuracy, and increases product quality.
- Development of the Product (Technology Overview)
- Product Implementation (Benefits)
- Future Improvements (What’s Next)