Helicopter “Huey” is one of the world’s most recognizable helicopters. Primarily used by the US Marine Corps, the current model UH-1Y’s design stems from the original UH-1 developed in 1955. Manufactured in Amarillo, Texas, this client uses a system of templates to assemble the helicopters. These templates are physical masters, and most have no known documentation.
This company sought to transfer the production site of the cabin from their plant to another plant without stopping production. This was made more challenging by the fact that only one set of templates existed. They would need to duplicate more than 500 of the unique templates to transfer production.
The client turned to our company for a reverse engineering solution. The sheer quantity of the templates combined with the goal of having as little downtime as possible brought our engineers on-site to perform 3D scanning services. Each one of the 500+ templates, which range in size from four inches to four feet, was accurately scanned using the Konica Minolta VIVID 9i. The scan data captured on-site was then sent to our Engineering Service Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Our company used Rapidform XOR to parametrically reverse engineer each template, paying close attention to model the exact size and location of the hole features. The CAD data generated by our company’s reverse modeling process was then successfully incorporated into Bell’s Unigraphics Product Life Management (PLM) software system.
The scanning services performed by our company offered the client the ability to successfully transfer production of the UH-1Y from their manufacturing plant to another without losing production time. The client has since been able to use the CAD models of the templates supplied by us to assimilate cutting-edge technology in their manufacturing process, benefiting them with digital copies that could be manufactured on-demand.
These digital models effectively eliminate the need for physical masters, enabling a higher level of control and documentation. Our company’s services saved the client a tremendous amount of time and more than half a million dollars on the project, all while breaking new ground incorporating the templates into a PLM environment for the first time.