Building aircraft has always been a struggle between the size of their components and the need to craft them carefully. More than any other device, airplanes epitomize the concept that ‘the devil is in the details’ because in small errors lies the potential for great mischief such as increased drag and decreased range.
In the past, large structures such as wings, fuselages, or vertical stabilizers were difficult to make alike because there was no good way to measure them. The traditional measuring standard for objects over 20 feet was the theodolite.Although theodolite measurements can be fairly precise, they are subject to interpretation and as such are not always reproducible.With the advent of the laser tracker, precise, rapid, reproducible measuring over great distances finally became a reality.
Although laser trackers are used to align large industrial equipment such as metal rolling mills, printing presses, and power generation equipment, one can imagine that they were created expressly for the aerospace industry. A laser tracker can be set up anywhere, in a design studio or factory, and its vast operating range is large enough to capture the wing of the biggest planes ever conceived.
For the aviation industry a laser tracker provides the greatest benefits to mechanical engineering; calibrating machine tools and process monitoring. How this is done you can read in this white paper about mechanical engineering in the aerospace industry.
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