Aircraft Engine Vibration

If you were to ask anyone in the aviation industry what can damage a plane, you’d get an entire laundry list ranging from faulty manufacturing to icing on the plane’s exterior to a bird getting sucked up into the engine. If you specifically asked an aircraft maintenance team, you’d probably get one word— vibrations. Jet engine vibrations can be extremely harmful if left unchecked. Parts that are not placed and secured in the jet aircraft engine properly can result in cracking, general metal fatigue, and engine failure.

Engine vibrations are usually caused by either rotor imbalances, worn-out parts, or both. If engine parts are improperly replaced, or if there is uneven weight distribution between moving parts, you’re almost certain to get engine vibrations. They can also be caused by damage from impact.

Test schedules are put into place and must be taken seriously. Aircraft engine manufacturers and the FAA will run tests, specify testing requirements, and set acceptable limits for engine vibration. These tests take place during routinely scheduled time frames, after a sudden impact event, or if there is an increase in levels of vibration.

Depending on the engine, vibration limits specified by the manufacturer may vary. Procedures to fix vibrations that are out of allowable limits are provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). These procedures, if done correctly, can help prevent whole engine change, resulting in lower costs.

The operator of the aircraft is ultimately the one responsible for ensuring aircraft safety and compliance to standards. Individual airlines may have their own maintenance team, or they can use maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) providers that specialize in maintenance operations.

MTI Instruments manufacturers tools used to measure precision balancing and vibrational analysis systems (PBS). Through technological advancements, MTI has been able to increase both precision and functionality, as well as create more compact and convenient products.

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The most important thing about aviation is safety. A plane should not be in the air if the airliner has even the slightest doubts about its airworthiness. But, airliners want their aircraft in the air and making money, not in the hangar being maintained. Unfortunately, inspection and repair of jet engines is inherently difficult and due to small spaces and restricted access to internal aircraft engine components. To answer this problem, Rolls-Royce teamed up with the University of Nottingham to look into robotics as a part of a collaboration funded in part by Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute.

‘Reiner’ is a robotic probe that combines rotary, prismatic, and flexible joints to replicate the degree of freedom of hand-held tools to repair compressor blades in-situ. At the prototype demonstration, ‘Reiner’ displayed interchangeable tools and repaired an engine at a Rolls-Royce facility. And ‘Reiner’ is not alone. ‘Flare’ is a pair of flexible snake-robots that can travel through an engine like and endoscope and work together to carry out patch repairs for thermal barrier coatings. ‘Inspect’ is a network of pencil-sized periscope-like optical sensors that can inspect and report any maintenance requirements in the engine. The ‘Swarm’ is a set of 10 mm robots that can crawl through the engine with small cameras to perform rapid visual inspections in hard-to-reach areas still in the conceptual stages. Harvard University’s cockroach-like robot is the product of an eight-year long effort to miniaturize robots.

Actualizing the use of miniature robots to perform inspections and repairs in-situ can revolutionize aircraft engine maintenance to an unbelievable degree. Teams of specialists won’t have to fly around the world to do AOG repairs, local teams can insert robots for remote use instead. While researchers at Rolls-Royce, University of Nottingham, and Harvard University have yet to deliver finished products for widespread use, they’re close. And the future of aircraft maintenance has never looked brighter.

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Fire fighting

Airplanes are used to fight some of the most dangerous fires, with states spending millions on maintaining and expanding their arsenal of aircraft parts capable for firefighting. These amazing aircraft can drop nearly 12,000 gallons of fire retardant in one takeoff. This fire retardant has been tested to be double the firefighting capability of water and almost 9 million gallons of it was used in 2015 alone. California has the largest fleet of firefighting planes and helicopters, with 22 air tankers, 12 helicopters and 14 tactical planes. This shows the investment that states are willing to spend on what they think of as an extremely valuable firefighting tool.

With the amazing capabilities of these aircraft, there’s drawbacks. Flying planes near fire zones is especially dangerous and 37 firefighters have died while operating the sky firefighting tools in the last 10 years. That’s a huge number and it shows the danger of the missions all together. Not is it only dangerous, it’s extremely expensive. The fire retardant they drop is nearly $2 a gallon. If you look at how much was used in 2015, 9 million gallons, you can see how expensive this can get. The fire retardant has also been linked to environmental problems because it contains nitrogen, which is detrimental to trees, fish, and all wildlife. This is more troublesome considering that a study done by Stahl’s Group said that there was no correlation to the use of aircraft fighting fires and the size of the fire or actual attack rates. The study says that planes don’t have an impact on fighting fires.

Although there are many negative aspects to fighting fires using aircraft, states are still heavily investing in aircraft to help wildfires. Colorado has been expanding their fleet, and California is always trying to improve their firefighting capabilities.

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Boeing Rolls Royce Engine

Recently, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc has been battling a shortage of parts required for hundreds of repairs of damaged engines that give power to Boeing’s 787 wide-body jets. This shortage has further delayed an already tight schedule. The repair for worn out Trent 1000 turbines has taken three days longer than the projected timetable. In some cases, this is due to a shortage of stock of compressor blades.

While Rolls Royce powered 787s are on the ground for repairs, airlines are being forced to lease replacement planes. This can sometimes be fore months. In the month of June so far, the number of airplanes on ground have reached 43. The struggle on aircraft component suppliers could become even worse, as it was recently revealed that durability problems extend to an early version of the engine. Rolls Royce has allocated around $1.3 billion in cash to tackle the engine issues.

The faster than expected downfall of the Trent 1000’s blades first came to notice in 2016. As several airlines continued to report damage to a batch of engines regarded as “Package C” last year, regulators intervened in April by ordering emergency shop visits for almost 400 suspect turbines. They also limited the number of flights for the 787s holding these engines to 2 hours and 20 minutes from the nearest spot for landing.

Rolls Royce manufacturers their turbine blades at a number of different global site, which includes their new factory in Rotherham, England. The Rotherham facility was dubbed as the most advanced facility when it opened in 2015. Techjet Aerofoils Ltd. Is Rolls’s only supplier for titanium compressor blades, although the company has supposed plans to source more producers. Rolls Royce has taken measures to certify an inspection method that will allow for work to be done with the engines still attached to the plane wing. This method will ease the burden maintenance shops face during repairs.

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GE Aviation Systems

Over many years of collaboration between companies GE and Dedienne, Dedienne has finally been named the key provider of tool choice for GE Aviation. This recently added task only adds to the long list of already contributed services and products Dedienne offers such as calibrating, selling, maintaining, supporting, testing, leasing, servicing, and providing provisions.

“GE is focused on providing customers with exceptional service and product support. That’s why we’re pleased to sign Dedienne Aerospace as one of our tooling suppliers. Its engine tooling expertise and global footprint will benefit the GE9X engine fleet”

With the newly introduced task, Delienne LTD will focus primary on the tooling for the GE9X support. Not only will they be in shift their focus to the new program but will be able to continue working on their other designated divisions. Opening a new facility in Cincinnati will be able to handle operations for their remaining divisions much like customer service, GE Aviation support and support for GE’s engine program. This will ultimately create new opportunities to be able to maintain and support the GE9X as well as handle their previous responsibilities.

Dedienne’s dedication to the industry has not gone unnoticed as they have already achieved to be a certified Boeing licensee. With the current obtaining of the tooling license for the GE9X they will be able to provide maintance for not only the GE9X but the 777x Boeing aircraft for worldwide customers.

Dedienne has various locations across the globe to be able to provide service to companies worldwide. Locations such as China, Dubai, Europe Singapore, and the America’s.

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