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Mechanised machining of aero fan-track liners to eliminate manual variability.

Introduction

As air is drawn into the fan system of a gas turbine engine, leakages across the tip of the fan blade must be minimised and the blades must not bind against the inner housing of the nacelle. A composite fan-track liner is precision engineered, machined and fitted to the fan system.

Machining of the fan-tack liners was previously time-consuming, technically difficult and variable. MetLase was asked to create a mechanised fixture that would guide a cutter to shape these liners with the required level of precision and minimum variability.

Solution

Using the precision laser cutter and patented joining technologies, MetLase engineers were able to design and build a fixture which guided a cutting tool to profile the composite liners with precision tolerance, prior to assembly into the engine.

Benefits

The fixture enables a significant reduction in the time and skill required to dress the liners; operation time was reduced by 94%, while precision increased. Furthermore, safety and environment are improved: dust can be much better controlled, and the operator is exposed for far less time. These fixtures were produced to cover operational service centres all over the world, with accuracy repeatable to well within aerospace standards.

Summary

Requirement: To reduce time and skill required to dress replacement liner panels.

Time Saving: Operation time reduced by 94%.

Global Process: Fixtures produced to cover all major service centres across the world, all repeatable to aerospace standards

Prototype, most of this design is in place, but iteration is needed to perfect the design.
Prototype, most of this design is in place, but iteration is needed to perfect the design.

The cutting head is guided around a circular track. The liner (grey) is supported in an arc, and cut precisely.
The cutting head is guided around a circular track. The liner (grey) is supported in an arc, and cut precisely.

The cutting head, shown profiling the surface of the composite liner material.
The cutting head, shown profiling the surface of the composite liner material.