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AEROStack System Automates Turbine Alignment and Build

For years, turbine engine builders have relied on manual processes for measurement and stacking to turbine alignment. These processes can be slow and rely on the skill of the operator. Automating this process is key to increasing throughput and improving engine yield while maintaining accuracy.

Aero engine cores are constructed of multiple separate components, known as a rotor, blisk, disk or stage. For the engine to run efficiently, smoothly and safely this rotating assembly must be accurately aligned. A typical High-Pressure Compressor (HPCR) or High-Pressure Turbine (HPTR) would consist of 6 components, with each component joined to make the complete assembly. Individual components mate together through an interference fit of snap surfaces making parameters such as squareness and eccentricity critical to performance.

Robotic Style Automation

Automation offers multiple benefits over traditional manual systems – faster, more repeatable measurements increase engine build to nearly 100% right first time. Axis movement, component alignment, gauge contact, feature measurement and result reporting are all completed seamlessly with predefined routines, “Operator intervention is all but eliminated with robotic style automation”.

Automation of turbine measurement and stacking offers further improvements including, repeatability, consistency between sites and operators, vastly improving build quality. This delivers fully optimised module straightness while minimising runout. By utilizing axial and radial rotor measurements on individual components, best assembly build configurations can be calculated to meet optimal performance for High-Pressure Compressors (HPCR) and High-Pressure Turbines (HPTR).

As major turbine manufacturers struggle with demand, it is important that speed and throughput are increased without losing accuracy and consistency. With this in mind, Taylor Hobson has developed the line of AEROStack Systems to address the needs of the turbine market with automated turbine rotor measurement, alignment and assembly. Delivering the complete solution; from the measurement system through to part holding and stack optimization, using TALYStack software. All of these critical aspects can be tailored to suit any engine programs whether its OEM or aftermarket, measuring individual rotors and complete assemblies.

Further improving the measurement process, AEROStack Systems offer diameter measurement capability, enabling measurement of blade tips and other sealing surfaces. Measure tip clearance and diameter in less than half the time when compared to other techniques.

Predicted Stack Against Random Stacking 

Unique gauging, repeatability and reproducibility, combined with the dedicated TALYStack software enables nearly 100% first time build of engines with added advantage to a tighter specification.

One of the most important parameters for stacking is the Axial Straightness parameter, which calculates the straightness of the rotary axis, giving an indication of the alignment of the rotary axis. This has an large impact on engine efficiency by enabling a reduced rotor to stator clearance but also reduces time between maintenance by reducing vibration and increasing engine life.

TALYStack & Metrology 4.0

A key feature of Metrology 4.0 Software is a live virtual display that utilizes CAD models for easy visualisation and programming.

A rapid centering and leveling utility which allows component alignment without any manual intervention, increasing throughput and accuracy. The end product is mathematically optimised to produce a more efficient engine, therefore reducing fuel consumption, engine noise and increasing time on wing.

TALYStack benefits include full integration with the measurement process, no manual input, and direct communication with the AEROStack System, delivering:

➤ Right first time engine build

➤ Reduced engine noise

➤ Reduced vibration

➤ Reduced fuel consumption

➤ Reduced seal and bearing wear

One commercial airline commented, “It takes weeks to train a technician on the manual system, but with the AEROStack System they can train new technicians in hours”.

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