8tree Unveils Smaller Fuselage Damage Analysis Tool

fuselage damage tool
Credit: Sean Broderick / AWST

ATLANTA—Airframe damage inspection specialist 8tree unveiled a new, compact version of its handheld scanning and measurement device at MRO Americas and plans to begin shipping the units to customers around mid-year.

Developed specifically for aviation applications and used by some 50 operators, suppliers, and maintenance providers in both commercial and defense, the tool brings precision 3D measurement capabilities normally found in a lab environment to the shop floor. The device allows technicians to quickly scan fuselage or other surface areas for imperfections and capture specific details such as size and depth of any dents. The information can then be shared with the airframe manufacturer or other technical experts for guidance on how to proceed.

The updated version uses the same scanning and optical technologies as the one in the field. However, it weighs about 30% less and fits easily in a small case, making it more convenient to take on the road for aircraft-on-ground or other remote jobs. New wireless LTE connectivity adds to the updated dentCHECK’s versatility as a mobile tool.

The tool’s appeal is both its simplicity and accuracy. It requires no special training and works like a point-and-shoot camera. The tool records precise measurements of imperfections caused by hail damage and other foreign object debris that is nearly impossible to replicate with traditional techniques.

While the tool is mostly used to analyze in-service damage, some suppliers have integrated it into production roles. Boeing uses dentCHECK to confirm 787 fuselage joints meet its engineering requirements of not varying more than 0.005 in. over a 5-in. span.

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.