Pratt & Whitney Turbine Overhaul has boosted its operations with an automated inspection system, laser cladding technology and improved Electron Beam Physical Vapor Deposition capabilities. This joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and Singapore Technologies Aerospace is based in Singapore and specialises in repairs to engine airfoil components.
Prior to using an automated inspection system, inspectors had to measure the thickness of internal walls of components using a hand-held probe. Now inspectors place the parts to be measured in the automated inspection system, which has reduced the inspection process by 10%. Further, the automated system needs fewer tools, hence it has cut the cost of maintaining and calibrating those tools.
Laser cladding beats welding
Established welding operations have been replaced with laser-cladding technology. Whereas technicians used to manually weld materials together, which is highly dependent on the individual’s skill, now staff can perform the task with minimal supervision but lower re-work rates. Similar to additive manufacturing, this laser technology deposits coatings on blade tips at an almost 99% first-time pass rate. The overall downstream process and product cycle time have also been reduced.
The improved Electron Beam Physical Vapor Deposition service can apply thermal barrier ceramic coatings to engine components to protect surfaces against corrosive environments for current and new Geared Turbofan engines. The process increases the length of time between repairs for these components and helps to increase overall durability.