Delta Sigma started thinking about augmented reality (AR) in 2005. By January 2008, the company, which designs and builds custom machinery to automate manufacturing and assembly processes for aircraft production, made its first installation on the F-22 vertical stabilizer. “And since that time, our augmented reality system, called ProjectionWorks, has been installed on 22 different aircraft production lines, in 31 different factories” in locations around the world, CEO Roger Richardson said during a panel talk at the recent AeroDef Manufacturing conference in California.
AR adoption is a no-brainer for many A&D manufacturers, he suggested.
Delta Sigma provided show attendees with a live simulation of work that actually happens, using augmented reality, on part of the F-35. The Air Force invested about $2.7 million in the project, which involves 78 projectors in 10 work cells at one location on the F35 center fuselage, and is now “receiving an $82 million return on that investment, in their total recurring flyaway cost,” Richardson said.
Scott Bryan, senior sustainment engineer with the US Air Force research laboratories, said his lab’s efforts to get the ProjectionWorks augmented reality system into the Air Force’s OEM manufacturing lines have resulted in “drastic improvements in throughput and quality.”
“We have a few ongoing projects to take this technology to the next level,” he added. “We are also looking at transferring it to the logistics environment for aircraft maintenance.”