Aircraft structure

Internal view of aircraft structural frame

Ensuring the structural integrity of aircraft

Explore how simulation, production and inspection technologies ensure aircraft structures are fit to fly.

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An aircraft structure is a lightweight ecosystem made from circular frames, linear stringers and skin panels — either machined or formed from sheet metal. Each structural component must be manufactured and accurately assembled to become the safe modern aircraft we expect today.

Hexagon’s multidisciplinary simulation and analysis solutions have been widely used for aircraft structural analysis in the aerospace industry for more than 40 years. We have helped designers calculate the ideal aircraft structure design to handle the internal and external loads required to fly aircraft aerodynamically and efficiently.

With passenger traffic doubling and pressure to reduce ecological impact on the planet greater than ever, Hexagon has also developed tools for coupled simulation, lightweight composite material simulation and additive manufacturing. These simulation solutions have unique potential to help designers overcome major challenges and design structures for new generations of aircraft.

Aircraft structural parts can include fuselage panels of over 40 square metres, as well as 10 or more metre structural spars and large assembly brackets. Manufacturing such large components makes anticipating process deviation to reduce production time essential in the ramp up of structural components production for the aerospace industry.

Shop-floor metrology tools, including non-contact inspection technologies, allow Hexagon customers to monitor the production process and manage the quality of the produced parts along their manufacturing workflow. Our robust solutions are designed to function in challenging shop-floor conditions, such as dusty and noisy aircraft structure plants.

From handheld 3D scanners to the world’s most accurate laser trackers and the largest bridge and gantry CMMs, our portfolio offers metrology equipment for everything from micron measurement to surface quality checks on aircraft skin panels.

Metrology is also increasingly embedded in aircraft structure manufacturing plants, including the use of wireless machine tool probes for measurement within machining centres. Hexagon also offers a range of laser tracker-based robotic positioning solutions to help tool integrators and aerospace manufacturers automate workstations. This enables aircraft manufacturers to ramp up aero-structure production by bringing speed and accuracy to the shop floor. 

  • Overview
  • Manufacturing
The aerospace industry is under pressure to deliver sustainable aviation on a mass scale. Smart manufacturing solutions can accelerate innovation, optimising aircraft designs and maximising production efficiency. See how Hexagon is enabling the industry to deliver greener aircraft in a more sustainable way.

Design and engineering phase

With Hexagon’s innovations in manufacturing technology, users can digitally simulate and optimise product design and engineering to ensure component manufacturability, production productivity and output quality.

Production phase

Maintain a digital thread through production, optimise machine tools, measure environmental variances and prevent downtime with predictive data analyses.

Inspection phase

Automate and digitalise quality measurement with our world-leading metrology hardware and software, creating a bridge between the real and digital worlds.

Digital transformation

Deploy Hexagon’s sensor software systems to transform siloed and disconnected processes into an integrated, data-driven manufacturing ecosystem that captures and creates value across the product lifecycle, enabling new business models and automating workflows to become increasingly autonomous, efficient and sustainable.

Explore all solutions for the manufacturing ecosystem