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Winbro offers non-conventional machining systems to produce the cooling holes for turbine-engine parts, such as high-pressure turbine blades, nozzle-guide vanes and combustors.

The company’s concept of a Combination Machine, incorporating, for example, high-speed drilling EDM and laser ablation, enables machining on HP turbine blades and vanes.

To reduce impact on hole quality in terms of the heat-affect zone, recast layer and micro-cracking, Winbro’s solution is to remove the Thermal Barrier Coating (TBC) and the adjoining bond coating at the hole location using laser ablation.

This exposes the parent material, allowing the hole to be drilled using the High Speed Drilling EDM process.

Drilling the metering hole using Winbro’s signature analysis eliminates the need for a back-wall impingement stopping material.

This dual process ensures hole quality and that the minimum of TBC is removed without risk of de-lamination of the TBC around the through hole.

Combining the two processes within a single machine brings additional benefits as there are no alignment issues when switching between operations and the ablation laser can also be used to remove the TBC in a controlled manner, and to machine a complete diffuser 2D or 3D shape.

Winbro also offers a combination of different laser types within a single machine where, for example, a high-peak-power laser is used for drilling operations and a fibre laser used for ablation.

The requirement to laser cut and laser drill large annular turbine components for a Russian customer led to the development of another Winbro turnkey solution based upon two laser sources.

In this instance, a high-peak power GSI 604D laser was suited to drilling the cooling holes at shallow angles to the surface, but this laser has only limited capability for cutting.

To achieve the high cutting rates and cut quality demanded by this application, a 3kW Trumpf Trudisk Laser system was integrated within the same WGT Delta five-axis machine.

Winbro’s Coalville WAM (Winbro Advanced Machining) facility allows the company to offer a range of non-conventional machining services to its customers within the aerospace and IGT markets.

WAM provides the opportunity to define and refine the process and machining parameters on a machine of the same type using exactly the same process.

This capacity for parallel component manufacturing is required where there is a need to produce production level parts ahead of the delivery of a new machine.

For manufacturers requiring an increase in capacity through a second source for strategic components, WAM offers the option for short-, medium- or long-term production offload as required.

The WAM facility can also be utilised by companies that do not wish to invest in complex technology and gain the necessary industry accreditations.

The machining processes available include a six-axis high-speed EDM drilling cell that has capacity for drilling holes and shaped diffusers in Aero and IGT blades, vanes, segments, combustors and other engine components.

Winbro’s multi-electrode drilling and sensing systems are integrated into the generator designs and permit efficient drilling of multiple holes or multiple diffusers simultaneously.

WAM has also developed techniques for salvaging blades and vanes that have cooling holes blocked or restricted by coating processes.

The technique may use multiple processes, as required by the type of coating on the individual component and the severity of the blockage or restriction.

The yields from this are said to offer a cost-effective and rapid route to component salvage.

The Winbro Advanced Machining facility also has experience of using laser ablation for the removal of coating overspray, as well as diffuser machining in coated and non-coated components.

Where aero or industrial gas-turbine engine-component repair is required, Winbro is able to offer one or more of its laser cladding, welding, ablation and inspection technologies.

This facility is certified with ISO9001 and AS9100, and accredited with Nadcap (non-conventional processes).

Winbro Group Technologies

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