Dürr recently installed an assembly line in Querétaro, Mexico, for the engine manufacturer Snecma, which is part of the French Safran Group. It is used for the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of aircraft engines. Thanks to Dürr’s new FAStplant assembly system, this process now runs much more efficiently. Whereas before, engines were transported between maintenance stations using cranes and transfer cars, they now move from station to station automatically on a flow production line. Another advantage is the flexibility of the system: It allows for the easy transportation of different types of engines as well as the quick modification or expansion of the line. Having proven itself in the automobile industry, FAStplant technology has had its debut in the aircraft engine sector in an assembly plant operated by US manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. “In order to produce more efficiently, the aircraft industry is increasingly focusing on flow production systems as used in automobile construction. Dürr can accelerate this technology transfer thanks to its expertise gained in the automobile industry”, explains Dr.-Ing. Uwe Siewert, who heads up Dürr’s Aircraft and Technology Systems business unit.
The balancing machines of Dürr’s subsidiary Schenck RoTec stand for high-precision measuring and unbalance correction in the aircraft industry. The balancing of aircraft components was one of the first Schenck technology applications back in 1907. Since then, the measuring equipment specialist has developed this area of business into an advanced high-tech niche. Around 20 components have to be balanced during the production and maintenance of each engine. This generally requires different balancing systems as well as special tooling. When balancing an engine shaft, which reaches up to 15,000 revolutions per minute, the maximum allowed center of gravity displacement is just 1 to 3 micrometers. For comparison: a human hair is around 50 micrometers thick. This level of precision pays off for the aircraft operator. The smaller the unbalance, the fewer vibrations occur and the safer and more efficient the running of the engine.
“Balancing systems for aircraft engines require highly advanced technology as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the entire process environment. Our global sales and service network gives us direct access to the development departments of all key aircraft engine manufacturers in Germany, the US, France, Russia or China as well as MRO specialists. This allows us to offer the right balancing systems for the entire lifecycle of an aircraft engine”, says Dr.-Ing. Ralf-Michael Fuchs, head of Dürr’s Measuring and Process Systems division.