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Zwick - Hardness Testing of Turbine Blades

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Zwick Roell
: 07 February, 2008  (New Product)
G.E. Aircraft Engine Services Limited, based in Cardiff, South Wales, part of the G. E. Avionics Group, are amongst the world leaders in the overhauling and repair of aeroplane jet engines. Commercial airlines have a critical need for expert engine maintenance that is performed cost effectively.
Customers also benefit from expertise gained from the knowledge management of overhauling more than 100,000 engines. The company strives to look for new ways to return engines back into service as quickly as possible.

As part of this proactive strategy, G.E. has invested in an automatic hardness testing system from Zwick's UK based hardness specialists, Indentec. The instrument is used to test the hardness of jet turbine hubs at the turbine blade connection point. The parts are safety critical, therefore performing accurate and reliable tests is essential.

The parts are up to 1m in diameter and can weigh up to 40kg so Indentec designed a purpose built, mechanical handling system which allows parts to be loaded safely into the test location automatically and without operator intervention.

The system performs a low load Brinell test using a 1mm ball and 30kgf test force. This scale was chosen as it provides a small indentation, which does not affect the performance of the part when in service and because the indentation will induce minimal stresses compared with other hardness scales such as Vickers and Rockwell.

In order to eliminate operator influence over the hardness result, the test sequence is fully automatic. A CCD camera and monitor are provided to allow the operator to inspect and measure the indentation, so reducing the uncertainty of measurement.

As with all Indentec products, the system was developed, installed and tested according to the ISO 17025 quality standard. Full compliance with both ISO 6506 and ASTM E10 Brinell standards ensure traceability to the National Physical Laboratory in London.

Indentec are pleased to have been a supplier to the G.E. Group for many years, a relationship which has benefited both organisations. The variety of products manufactured by the G. E. Group has enabled Indentec to supply many other products for different applications and in different locations around the world.
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