Aero Engine Fan Casing Inspection

Dimensional Measurement Solutions for Ensuring the Quality of Aero Engine Fan Cases

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As the aircraft’s primary fan blade containment device, fan cases are essential to a plane’s safe operation.

The casing has to be strong enough to absorb the energy of a blade failure and prevent debris from penetrating its material. In the event of damage to fan blades, the fan casing also needs to withstand the imbalanced load to ensure the plane can make a safe emergency landing. As such, high-quality production and inspection of the fan case are critical to protect the aero engine, the airframe, and the passengers.

As a large part, the sheer size of a fan case poses problems for inspection and limits the choice of suitable measurement solutions. Another difficulty is the very tight tolerance of the case’s inner surface, which ensures optimum clearance between fan blade tips and the case, accounting for natural movement and vibration during flight. Meeting the challenge of this precise clearance is critical to maximising energy efficiency and thrust.

Hexagon offers a number of measurement solutions to cater for the demands of fan case inspection. A gantry 3D coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is an ideal solution to accommodate for both the size and high accuracy requirements of parts like fan cases. Given the weight and size of a fan casing, Hexagon’s handheld photogrammetry instruments offer portability that might be preferred for fan casings, delivering tolerance analysis and roundness inspection where movement of the part might be more restricted.   

The braided composite material sometimes used to reinforce the fan case poses an additional inspection complexity that these solutions are equipped to handle.

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