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Perhaps among the most unpredictable and sudden of weather patterns, it is well known that hail can cause important disturbance. Broken windows, seriously dented cars, house shingles transformed into Swiss cheese… Hailstones measure at least 5 mm (0.2 in.) in diameter, and can be up to 15 cm (6 in.), so combined with strong winds and unstable conditions, they can rally spell bad news!
But it’s not just homes and vehicles that can be damaged by hail. Aircrafts can sometimes fly through hailstorms, and this can result in some scratches, dents and even holes in their fuselage. Among other incidents, a 15-minute hailstorm over Colorado damaged over 40 planes in the Denver airport in July 2011, delaying or cancelling the travelling plans of a thousand passengers.
Following these events, airplanes are sent into maintenance to assess the damage. For air carriers, the related issues are numerous:
- The airplanes must be immobilized for as little time as possible
- Inspections must be performed in various conditions (outside or inside, in different temperatures, etc.)
- The results must be as precise and reliable as possible
- The technology used must work for different materials, and on different surfaces (big or very small, plane or convex, etc.)
Previously, hail damage assessment was performed entirely manually, which could take 4 to 5 hours per square meter! A considerable time considering the size of an entire plane.
But Creaform is changing the way hail damage inspection is done. With its HandySCAN 3D scanner, an innovative contactless optical laser process to quickly assess aircraft hail damage is now available. See an example of this solution for yourself, as experienced by Air France Industries and KLM Engineering and Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M):
Not only the Creaform solution reduces traditional inspection time by 80%, but it also meets all of the carriers’ challenges, for instance regarding climate conditions and surfaces.
The solution is up and ready to work within five minutes, and is very easy to use. Once an area is digitized in 3D, a 3D model is generated, and the mechanical damage is automatically assessed. Users can select specific areas and enlarge them, measure the extend of the defects, and produce detailed automated reports.
Another major advantage of the HandySCAN 3D is that its results can be directly sent to experts not present during the inspection. This ensures that repair decisions can be taken quickly.
You can learn more about our 3D scanning solution for hail damage assessment here.