Testing

Ready for take-off with ARAMIS

GOM’s non-contact 3D measuring system for motion and deformation analysis has become an indispensable tool in the Airbus Helicopters test lab.

Fully electric, autonomous flying sounds like a dream of the future, but at long-standing GOM customer Airbus Helicopters innovation has always been a driving force. As well as making conventionally powered helicopters, the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer is also developing electrically powered machines. These multicopters are designed for urban areas - for example, as compact and sustainable air taxis for the cities of tomorrow. ARAMIS, GOM’s optical 3D measuring system, is helping to turn this and other visions into reality.

Two high-performance systems in a combined test environment

The centerpiece of the Airbus Helicopters test environment is the General Measurement and Control System (GeMCoS), which controls the application of loads and measures the deformations that occur. To start with, this is done using only tactile strain gauges or LVDTs.

In parallel, the measurement lab uses optical 3D measuring technology from GOM. When it comes to component testing, they use an ARAMIS SRX fitted with two 12-megapixel cameras and the ARAMIS Professional software.

Monitoring sub-millimeter deformations online

A conventional LVDT is effective when only a few measuring points need to be tested. But when it comes to measuring complex structures and large numbers of neuralgic measuring points, as is the case in the Airbus Helicopters test environment, the ARAMIS optical measuring system is unbeatable.

The ARAMIS system can be used to measure displacement in three dimensions with relatively little effort – in real time. It is therefore also suitable for limit value monitoring. If an unforeseen event occurs, the test can be switched off in good time. This considerably reduces the risk of unintentionally destroying expensive test specimens.

Designing the interface together

Although the conventional GeMCoS measuring channels and the images produced by ARAMIS represent two entirely different data sources, the two systems have to work together. In the process, the point-based 3D data from ARAMIS is transferred to the GeMCoS system. Instead of the usual 10–20 channels, it now has 300–350 additional measuring channels.

The data streaming that acts as the interface between the two systems is based on a joint development by Airbus Helicopters and GOM. The major challenge was to synchronize the systems to allow online measurement in dynamic tests with a minimal time lag. Both the short exposure times of the optical system and the fast data processing and transfer play a role in this.

Multicopter demonstrator

The most striking feature of this visionary air taxi is its four ducted double rotors. Each of the ducts measures more than 3 meters in diameter but, thanks to its lightweight design and carbon fiber construction, weighs only 20 kg. The double rotors’ aerodynamic properties give the multicopter the necessary lift during flight. The fact that the distance between the propeller tips and the inner edge of the circular duct is only a few millimeters gives an idea of how carefully the vibration characteristics of these parts need to be tested.

Helicopter testing

The extreme difficulty of calculating the vibration characteristics of helicopters makes helicopter design one of the hardest jobs in the aircraft industry. The product development team at Airbus Helicopters therefore has all new components tested for airworthiness in the company’s own test laboratory in Donauwörth. Here, hydraulic tests are carried out on everything from individual winglets to the complete fuselage – to simulate the effects of typical flight maneuvers.

Airbus

Airbus is one of the world’s leading companies in the aerospace industry and related services. The company generated revenues of €70 billion in 2019 with around 134,000 employees. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of commercial aircraft. It is the European market leader for aerial tankers and combat, transport, and mission aircraft, and is one of the biggest aerospace companies in the world. Airbus civilian and military helicopters are extremely efficient and are in demand worldwide.

GOM Acceptance Test

GOM developed the GOM Acceptance Test for ARAMIS in 2019 on the basis of VDI standards. The GAT certifies the performance capability of the image correlation systems and is already an integral part of the acceptance procedure for most ARAMIS sensors.