GOM are the industry leaders in Precise Industrial 3D Metrology, supporting OEMs, suppliers and research centres to optimise processes, reduce costs and to shorten development times in a range of manufacturing processes. They are a highly technical organisation embarking on complex projects, therefore it is no surprise that our work for GOM is some of the most technically challenging work we’ve undertaken.
GOM boast an extensive customer base in the aerospace industry and supply high-end, automated, geometric inspection processes for a broad range of aircraft and engine components. For such demanding applications, the GOM solution typically includes a ScanBox, ATOS sensors, a fixture to hold the part and a reference frame. A reference frame is a special type of fixture that is used to precisely align multiple, overlapping ATOS measurements into a common coordinate system. In order to achieve the very highest levels of capability, the reference frame must remain static and therefore dimensionally and thermally stable throughout the measurement process.
Carbon Fibre Tubes (CFT) were engaged by GOM to assist in the design and manufacture of reference frames for a number of customer projects to inspect fan blades. Fan Blades are the largest aerofoil components in a civil airliner jet engine, in some cases measuring over 1.5m in length. In addition to their length, fan blade aerofoils are also highly twisted and have relatively small radii at their leading and trailing edges. The challenging geometry of a fan blade drives the requirement for a closely fitting reference frame, which follows the twist and form of the aerofoil, can be easily and quickly assembled and disassembled (by hand) and remain static throughout the measurement process.
CFT’s role was to provide specialist design advice during the reference frame concept development phase and to manufacture the key structural and functional components. Understanding how the reference frames would be used was crucial and this allowed CFT to take a leading role in these projects.
The composite tubes are curved in 3 planes and really tested CFT’s experience in laminate and structural design; good communication and collaboration between the teams was fundamental to achieving the final design. However, the most crucial aspect was that the reference frames remain dimensionally and thermally stable in order to achieve the very high levels of measurement capability demanded by the fan blade application.
Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) was an ideal material choice for this application due to its high modulus nature (high stiffness), low weight (easy to assemble and disassemble by hand) and very low thermal expansion properties.
Our whole team was proud to deliver the finished product to GOM.