Comparative Analysis of Human Operators and Advanced Technologies in the Visual Inspection of Aero Engine Blades

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Journal Article
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Aust J
Pons, Dirk

Background—Aircraft inspection is crucial for safe flight operations and is predominantly performed by human operators, who are unreliable, inconsistent, subjective, and prone to err. Thus, advanced technologies offer the potential to overcome those limitations and improve inspection quality. Method—This paper compares the performance of human operators with image processing, artificial intelligence software and 3D scanning for different types of inspection. The results were statistically analysed in terms of inspection accuracy, consistency and time. Additionally, other factors relevant to operations were assessed using a SWOT and weighted factor analysis. Results—The results show that operators’ performance in screen‐based inspection tasks was superior to inspection software due to their strong cognitive abilities, decision‐making capabilities, versatility and adaptability to changing conditions. In part‐based inspection however, 3D scanning outperformed the operator while being significantly slower. Overall, the strength of technological systems lies in their consistency, availability and unbiasedness. Conclusions—The performance of inspection software should improve to be reliably used in blade inspection. While 3D scanning showed the best results, it is not always technically feasible (e.g., in a borescope inspection) nor economically viable. This work provides a list of evaluation criteria beyond solely inspection performance that could be considered when comparing different inspection systems.

Aust J, Pons D (2022). Comparative Analysis of Human Operators and Advanced Technologies in the Visual Inspection of Aero Engine Blades. Applied Sciences (Switzerland). 12(4). 2250-2250.
human technology comparison, human versus machine, visual inspection, automated defect detection, aircraft engine maintenance, MRO, emerging technologies, Industry 4.0
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
Fields of Research::40 - Engineering::4001 - Aerospace engineering::400103 - Aircraft performance and flight control systems
Fields of Research::46 - Information and computing sciences::4602 - Artificial intelligence::460299 - Artificial intelligence not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research::46 - Information and computing sciences::4603 - Computer vision and multimedia computation::460306 - Image processing
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