Ametek Solartron Metrology
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Profile analysis of complex curves, such as airfoils
Product News Thursday, October 10, 2013: Ametek Solartron Metrology
CMM’s had been used by a large engine component manufacturer for the profile analysis of large turbine blades. The process was both accurate and reliable.
However, when the volume of blades being produced increased to a level where the cycle time of the CMM became a problem, the manufacturer turned to multi channel gauges fitted with 10mm Digital Pneumatic Probes.
Although the tolerances within the blade were tight, the position of the blade in free space could vary.
Digital Probes with 10mm travel were chosen for the fixture because they are linear along the full travel and can resolve to <0.1µm.
Pneumatic actuation of the probes helped to enable the blades to be loaded into a fixture with a minimum number of moving parts. By reducing the complexity of the fixture, errors caused by moving parts were reduced, as was the cost of the fixture.
Determining the profile of a complex curve may involve the relationship of various measuring points. It is therefore important that all the readings are taken in the shortest possible time to minimise the possibility of calculation errors caused by movement while the readings are taken.
The ability of the Digital Orbit® network to take up to 4,000 readings per second, per probe, ensured that this was not a problem.
An alternative could have been to take ‘snap shots’ of the readings from all the probes and store them in Buffered Probes that are capable of storing 3,000 readings per probe.