Aerospace

The global aerospace industry can broadly be categorized into two sectors, commercial and defence. Both use components in safety critical applications, making inspections of these parts are vital.

The commercial aerospace sector consists of companies that produce large commercial aircraft, regional aircraft, light aircraft (such as helicopters and business jets), aircraft engines, parts and auxiliary equipment, and commercial satellites. Dominated by Boeing in the United States and Airbus in Europe, the primary end customer is the global airline industry.

Aerospace

The defence aerospace sector is comprised of companies that produce aircraft, engines, parts, equipment, weapons systems, and military satellites.

Major companies in the sector include Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, Airbus, Martin Baker, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and BAE Systems. Demand is driven by defence spending.

Subcontractors manufacture a huge range of components that are supplied to these aerospace companies that range from sensors, connectors to turbine blades and electronic systems.

Accurate inspection of aircraft components

Aerospace companies use Lynx optical inspection system in their goods-in when they receive components from subcontractors.

Likewise subcontractors use stereo inspection microscopes like the Lynx and Mantis to inspect raw materials when they are received and in the final inspection before they are sent to the aerospace companies.

For instance, Mantis Elite is used to inspect machined components such as turbine blades for imperfections and before they are coated. The coatings are usually put onto such critical components to maximise their life and performance, in such challenging conditions, including exposure to a diversity of temperature, humidity and vibration variables.

Mantis is used to inspect the turbine blades and in particular the core passage to make sure they are free from dust particles and debris, before they are coated. The episcopic illumination on Mantis Elite microscope enables engineers to inspect through bore and blind holes to make sure the components are ready for coating.

Long working distances on the Mantis stereo microscope provide engineers with the space and magnification they need to rework the turbine blades if they need deburring.

Using UV and white LED illumination to inspect coatings

Other components are often cast and these components need inspecting to makes sure they have been set correctly and during the casting process, they have not lost any of their detailing or features.

After the casting process, they are also coated and this can be checked using the Mantis’ combination of UV and white LED illumination. Using the UV will show engineers if there are any crack on the coating, which are vital in making sure the components are manufactured to standard.

Prevention of contamination and deformation

Components measured for aerospace are critical and 100% inspection and measurement is crucial. Non-contact measurement is often a preferred to prevent contamination and deformation.

Depending on what material the components are made from, the complexity of the features, size of the components and measurement requirements, Vision Engineering has a range of metrology solutions.

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