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An Advanced Structural Integrity System for Air Transport Composites using NDT Evaluation and Damage Tolerance Methods (TRACE-IT)
Start date: Oct 1, 2013, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

There is a huge industrial and innovative need for more efficient and reliable damage inspection as well as for reducing the time and cost for aircraft infrastructure maintenance and especially C and D Checks without compromising the safety of passengers and goods transported. This reduction would increase the value for money for the European aerospace industries. Moreover, airline companies will be able to reduce their tickets’ prices and make air travel more affordable to European citizens. Last but not least, this reduction can potentially release new investments and funds to explore aircraft innovative designs and technologies. For these reasons, there is an urgent need for improving structural maintenance efficiency that will ensure not only the safe air transport of European citizens, goods and military operations but will also promote the sustainable growth of the fastest mean of transport in a tough economic era. The TRACE-IT project is focused upon the development of an innovative inspection system, with automated and manual capabilities, for any type of composite aircraft structures. The structural integrity system is comprised by two parts: a qualified PA method attached to a mobile manipulating system, and a DT (Damage Tolerance) assessment technique processed on a computer. The results from the PA technique will be used as inputs to perform a DT numerical analysis for the inspected component. Eventually, the results from the PA technique as well as the results from the DT analysis will be available, to the inspector, in a simple Graphical User Interface (GUI). Consequently, an average skilled inspector will be able to take more appropriate and cost efficient maintenance actions (e.g. component repair or complete substitution) than today’s inspection procedures.

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