Westland passes inspection with automated LK machine

GKN Westland Aerospace has installed a G-90C CMM coordinate measuring machine to meet the productivity and traceability requirements of customer Boeing. The machine, supplied by LK, is being used to automatically inspect door-edge beams, aircraft spars and smaller aluminium components, replacing manual methods to cope with a production throughput of more than 20 aircraft a month. The machine has an extra large work envelope to inspect beams up to 14ft long. To meet advanced technology assembly requirements, tolerances vary from +/-0.030in on the basic shape to +/-0.010in down to +/-0.004in on jig locating holes. There are eight components in each set of beams. A first-off parts inspection is used to verify the NC program. The latter is developed offline using Catia Cadcam software and LK’s CMES language post processor. Parts are then 100% checked for surfaces, holes and lengths prior to shipment.


Engineers at Matra BAe Dynamics have developed a test rig to find the centre of gravity of the latest deadly accurate ASRAAM air-to-air strike missiles. To meet the brief of speed, accuracy and ease of use, the rig is built around three Nobel KIS 3 shear force loads cells with an integral weight transmitter. The load cells support the missile on precision bearings at three points in the horizontal plane. Three initial mass reaction measurements are then used to give the total mass and define the centre of gravity using the X and Y axes. The missile is rotated through 90 degrees and the mass at the three points is measured again. The change in mass after rotation enables engineers to compute the missile’s true centre of gravity with reference to the datum of the X, Y and Z coordinates, accurate to +/-0.02mm. Traditional solutions using mechanical balances, electronic scales or load cells and strain gauges were dismissed. The integral weight transmitter, capable of sending data direct to a host PC, was an important factor.


Simulation software developed in the UK by Autologic Systems has been chosen for the US Government’s Composite Affordability Initiative (CAI) program by members of the aerospace and defence consortium. The program aims to cut the cost of composite structures. The AutoMod 3D simulation software will be used to evaluate materials handling, process flow and assembly operations. Features include support for activity- based costing and the ability to assess various design and manufacturing scenarios.


Comfort is critical to air traffic controllers who spend long hours working under pressure. The new Console range of traffic control consoles is ergonomically designed to house civilian and military communications and monitoring equipment. The frame is made from steel and aluminium for strength while the outer shell is made from DuPont’s Corian, a tough, machinable acrylic material available in six colours. Consoles are custom built to include, for example, a powered VDU tilt mechanism.


Endevco has a new range of air data probes for flight test and similar applications. The probes, made in the US by SpaceAge Control, are tested to meet Nasa requirements. Model 100400, for example, is a mini air-data boom designed for drone, remotely powered, unmanned and light aircraft testing. Features include aluminium body with stainless steel nose, angle of attack and sideslip vanes, static and total head pressure pick up and a weight of 170g.


For German aerospace fittings company Aircabin, the move from injection moulding to less costly thermoforming methods meant a change in production techniques. New adhesives had to be sourced for bonding the formed thermosplastic material, PPSU, to phenolic prepeg and honeycomb materials used to make interior fittings for the Airbus. Uralane 5774 A/B, a two-component polyurethane adhesive, was chosen for its self-extinguishing properties, thermal stability and peel strength. It bonds readily to engineering plastics and metals.


Vicor power components meet key military performance specifications for input power quality, conducted noise, severe environments and component derating. Eleven modules cover standard input voltages up to 400 VDC and output voltages up to 95VDC.