KTM Solutions Solves a Difficult Machining Problem
Recently, an aerospace parts manufacturer contacted KTM to design a large fixture to secure an aircraft engine lip skin during its final grind and polish process. A lip skin is a thin-walled aluminum structure installed at the leading edge of a jet engine. Since the lip skin is a critical aerodynamic component, the outside surface must be smooth and without deviation from the engineered surface contour. Even though automation is used to control the grinding process, proper support during the process is essential to ensure a quality finish.
The lip skin needed to be securely held during the automated grinding operation. This operation utilizes a turntable system that spins the lip skin and fixture on the inlet axis. The rotation is controlled to work alongside a polishing robotic arm. In order to achieve the desired results, all external surfaces needed to be exposed during the polishing and grinding procedure and, as a result, all ”clamping” had to be accomplished from the inside surface. At the same time, all controls had to be protected from the grinding system. Finally, since aluminum dust is a bi-product of this process, all components had to be sealed to prevent possible explosion.
KTM’s turn-key solution included a series of header beams and a vacuum system that secured the inner mold line. Arches were designed to match the inner surface at specific intervals and to resist deflection of the skin during the polishing process. Sensors were added to ensure correct placement of the skin and proper vacuum operations. Our design also protected all components from potential damage. The result was a satisfied client and the beginning of a new long term relationship.
KTM is a team of professional engineers who partners with manufacturing companies to overcome challenges and deliver the custom design solution and the expertise you need for your project.