Senior Director Product Sales and Engine Lease
Lufthansa Technik AG
The rapid development of digital information technology create the opportunity to merge the reality of the spatial world with stored 3D representations. The preferred way to display such information are VR headsets or tablet computers. This technology has tremendous potential - opening the way for improved work procedures, increased safety and reliability. We explore and promote this issue in a number of different projects.
One example that is being tested is the assembly of the CFM56-5B low-pressure turbine drive shaft. The critical assembly point cannot be seen from outside, and the assembly job itself requires extensive tooling. Therefore this component was completely reproduced as a 3D model. By using tools such as VR headsets or tablets the quality and dependability of the assembly work can be extensively improved. The matching of reality and CAD model geometry may not be perfect yet – it will take another technological step – but the technology is already playing a noticeable role in this complex type of work.
A cylindrical flange connection in the engine is another example of this work. In this job, a large number of screws must be installed and torqued in a precisely defined sequence. In this test case, the camera of an appropriately equipped tablet focuses on the geometry of the flange and displays the exact order that must be followed in the screw-tightening job. These tests have also demonstrated that VR can help improve the process.
Lufthansa Technical Training already uses this technology extensivly. We recently developed a virtual aircraft and photographed it in such a way that you can view it on a tablet or with a VR headset. The system makes it possible to shift some of the practical training to the classroom. The teacher can walk through the virtual aircraft with the trainee and explain certain things, including simple maintenance tasks. This technology serves as the basis for a prototype that enables students to work on an engine in a virtual reality environment. The rendering can be seen both as a projection on a spherical panorama and with the help of an AR headset.