Autonomous Aero Turbine Blade Re-Manufacturing System (TB-REMAN)
High-value aerospace gas turbine blades are subjected to extreme temperatures during operation, resulting in wear, deformation and distortion over time. After ~30,000 hours of air time, engines are entirely overhauled, the blades are taken out and repaired using manual weld deposition then refinished. Major problems have been identified through errors in the weld build-up process. Half of all blades are reclaimable through remanufacturing, but high heat input during welding and poor practice results in many being scrapped. This ATI-supported research project will provide a fully automated solution that can identify both wear on the blade and carry out repairs, potentially doubling existing service life. From application of novel techniques and technology developed in the UK, increased production throughput and data will allow manufacturers to see benefits such as increased service life, optimised blade design and increased efficiency.