NLign Analytics Wins Contract to Improve F-35 Maintenance

The current F-35 repair CONOPS associated with any significant coating or structural damage requires the use of a trace and transfer approach to capture structural damage location, size and orientation. This is a cumbersome, time-consuming process that involves tracing damage on a large, clear piece of Mylar that is sent to Lockheed Martin (LM) engineers who”eye-ball”a mapping onto 3D models for repair design. The objective of this proposal is to develop an alternative approach a digital photograph based approach. This new approach replaces the Mylar with a digital photograph from a standard commercial camera. The photograph can be emailed from the inspectors to the structural engineers. The engineers can then easily extract the damage from the photograph and map it onto 3D models. BENEFIT: Significant reduction in time required to repair aircraft structural damage. In order for an acceptable repair to be designed, engineers spend countless hours on collecting information about the structure to be analyzed and finding information on similar repairs and analysis completed in the past for a given location. This results in engineers spending a lot of”Non-Value Added Time”just collecting the necessary information in order to process all of it. In many cases, existing information isn”t found and the analysis is completed without it. The Navy has performed time studies on the F/A-18 structural repair process and has projected that NLign will reduce the average structural engineering disposition time from 14 hours per damage to 3 hours, a 78% reduction in time. It is believed the benefits of using this technology with the F-35 program could be similar to results seen by the USN for the F/A-18. Given the reduction in engineering analysis time, the benefits will also include increased aircraft availability.

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