Precision CMM Meets Productivity For Aerospace Component Inspection

Livnica Preciznih Odlivaka (LPO), Serbia is an expert in vacuum and air castings of super-alloys and stainless steels for applications such as turbine blades, diffusers and other complex aerospace parts. LPO currently holds certificates for quality regulations including casting of jet engine parts, and special processes including heat treatment, Ni-based castings and mechanic material testing.

LPO has been a cus­tomer with Nikon Metrol­ogy for over 10 years, orig­i­nally using the LK Integra CMM for its Qual­ity As­sur­ance needs. Due to a re­cent surge in busi­ness ac­tiv­ity, LPO de­cided to ex­pand by in­tro­duc­ing a new pro­duc­tion hall to cap­i­talize on the de­mand for its ex­per­tise. How­ever, due to the in­crease in pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, its orig­i­nal, soli­tary LK CMM has taken on dou­ble shifts, work­ing at full ca­pac­ity to keep up with the boom­ing work­load.

It was recognized that LPO needed to invest in a new quality assurance tool to share the workload, to complement the increased production capacity and to maintain its renowned high quality standards. Miloš Dojčinović in the Purchasing department worked closely with the CMM operators in the decision process to understand what was required of the new system.

Vacuum casting is a way in which metal casters can achieve optimal properties for cast components as well as successfully produce difficult, complex castings. By using a vacuum to draw the molten metal into the mold, the process can be accurately and closely controlled. This process offers an improved quality and finish to the final casting as well as excellent dimensional tolerances compared to pouring.

The turbine blades and diffusers produced by LPO are typically NiCo (Nickel/Cobalt) based alloys, formed through the vacuum casting process.

When producing these components, there is no room for error as any inaccuracies in geometry or positioning can lead to poor energy conversion efficiency, loss of aerodynamics and in extreme cases, complete failure. Therefore, it is paramount for manufacturers of aerospace components to have a thorough and comprehensive Quality Assurance department using the most adequate technology available.Super-alloys are ideal for aerospace turbine components because of their key characteristics – excellent strength and resistance to heat and corrosion which is vital when considering the temperatures and pressures these components will be subject to.

Miloš explains, “The operators who originally use the LK Integra CMM prefer the versatility and no-nonsense programmability of the CAMIO software and CAD based part programming. They also aim for the continuity and correct compliance to DMIS standard”.

The combination of experience using Nikon systems, the user friendly interface with CAMIO software as well as a good working relationship with the company made the Nikon solution the number one choice. With requirements for the new system being quite similar to the original parameters for the LK Integra, LPO already knew what Nikon CMMs are capable of. The investment in a Nikon CMM with ceramic frame comes with a 10-year structural warranty, meant to achieve and maintain original specified accuracies for the extended working life of the Nikon and LK CMMs.

The selected CMM was the 15.10.8 ceramic bridge Altera, with TP20 tactile probe and the Camio8 software package. Since the installation and training with the new system, Miloš discussed some of the benefits they have seen so far.

Miloš explains how the speed of measurement on the new system is a major benefit for the new facility. “On the ALTERA CMM, 100% inspection can now be achieved, to absolutely guarantee individual component conformity. LPO typically conducts plane-line-point measurement of the turbine blades, diffusers and other aerospace components, according to customer requirements. With CAMIO, LPO has a better understanding of product conformity with full 3D part-to-CAD comparison and inspection data is easily shared with the click of a mouse. The reports can be exported in various formats to fit each client’s individual needs for data interpretation in a QA department.”

Miloš adds, “with the ALTERA CMM, they are now multi-sensor ready, whilst already achieving 100% inspection, if ever the need for multi-sensor technology arises, then LPO is perfectly positioned for a Nikon Metrology Laser Scanning upgrade.”

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