Articulated 3D scanning solution

Context & Aim

Irish Manufacturing Research and TEG are working on the development of an automated roboticized 3D measurement scanning solution to improve assembly operations on large scale structures for Airbus under a Smart Eureka and EI funded project called Measurement Aided Assembly of Large scale Structures (MAAS ).


The aim of the project is to build a prototype automated 3D scanning solution with a precision of 0.1 mm for the scanning of  individual Aircraft panels pre-assembly to carry  out  best fit analysis, Post assembly a full wing sccan is required to measure critical  gap and Step of the assembly to verify the quality.


The present process requires considerable manual assessment assembly and possible reassembly to get best fit.  The roboticized solution will improve the manual assembly processes assembly quality and reduce time required.


  • To build a Prototype robotized demonstrator that can scan panel and wings and provide point cloud data for analysis.
  • Point cloud analysis for CAD matching and measurement to an accuracy of 0.1mm


TEG carried out initial manual scanning assessment of a number of 3D scanning technologies and vendors that would meet the stringent measurement accuracy and good technical support required by Airbus.   Hexagons Leica T-Scan 5 solution was identified as scanner of Choice.


To build an integrated solution IMR, Queen’s University Belfast through the Northern Ireland Technology Center (NITC) were able to provide a T Scan Scanner and support engineer with scan software experience.


IMR, TEG Queens NITC and Hexagon carried out a 10day feasibility study to build and demonstrate the articulated scanning

IMR’s Robotics & Automation team collaborating with TEG, QUB & Hexagon, all experts in their domains, has allowed us to rapidly deliver an articulated 3D scanning solution for both large and small area structures with production-ready precisions to demonstrate Prototype the solution to our Airbus partners


  • Within 10 working days the team build a full wing and panel scanning demonstrator for wing and Panel scanning.
  • Both Wing and panel scans are of sufficient quality to carryout CAD matching and measurement.
  • Demonstrated full wing scan over 7.7m in 15 minutes providing confidence in the speed of the process.


All partners have built up knowledge on the integration of 3D scanner and robot for scanning large and small structures.

Provide confidence to TEG and IMR that the chosen solutions will work and helped identify areas for improvement and optimisation before building a final solution.

Benefits to Clients

  • Provides a working advanced prototype to demonstrate the solution to Airbus giving confidence that IMR and TEG are on the right path.
  • Provides data on scanning to show measurement capability.
  • Demonstrated cycle times that can provide increased efficiency in assembly operations.
  • The presentation of the prototype has opened up new potential opportunities for assembly operations.

Articulated 3D Scanning Solution for Large and Small Area Structures with Production-ready Precision


Philip Long
Senior Robotics Researcher


Robotics and Automation