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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Air Frames: Airbus Introduces Smart Glasses for Final Assembly

Juliet Van Wagenen

[Avionics Today 08-04-2015] Working with an industry partner, Airbus has developed a “connected” glasses tool for technicians to wear on the A330 final assembly line. The glasses enable precise positioning — down to the millimeter — during the cabin installation marking process, when operators designate the exact location where seats and cabin furnishings should be affixed inside the aircraft. 

Airbus technician uses smart glasses on A330 final assembly line
Airbus technician uses smart glasses on A330 final assembly line. Photo: Airbus

The head-worn technology features a camera to scan barcodes so the user can see the specific cabin plans and information based on individual customer requirements, as well as view the marking zone. The glasses also feature an offset screen that displays several navigation icons and items in augmented reality. In addition, when the mark has been made, the tool checks its location to validate the operation.

Interactivity with the technology is provided via voice recognition, using simple English commands to avoid interference from the French-speaking environment at Airbus’ Clément Ader facility in Toulouse, France, where final assembly for the popular A330 Family occurs.

“With our new tool, time spent per aircraft on marking operations is divided by six with an error rate reduced to zero, regardless of the user's experience. Even newcomers, after a short training session, can now be entrusted with this activity,” said Benoit Rollin, head of manufacturing engineering for A330 cabin furnishing. “This aspect is very important at the moment as we adjust staffing to deal with production ramp-ups across our product line of commercial jetliners.”

Following a quick development after the project’s launch in January, the first prototype of the tool was available in February for initial testing and validation. To date, the glasses have been evaluated on five aircraft, allowing Airbus to make significant observations of its application on the A330 final assembly line.

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