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X-ray inspection of propellers

More Control has completed an automated x-ray system with a world-leading manufacturer of integrated propeller systems. The manufacturers products are used in applications ranging from regional airliners to military airlifters and marine hovercrafts.

With the technical expertise of the More Control team, the design of the control system has provided an easy to use front end for a more complex multi-axis motion control solution, while ensuring a safe environment for the x-ray of propellers. The system is designed to identify any faults in the blades post production. Each different model of blade needs to have set individual x-rays points. To accomplish this, the More Control system allows the operative to ‘teach’ the system storing the individual programmes of up to 60 inspection points, ready for use for quality control inspection.Heliblade

The blade is loaded on to a travelling turntable that remotely positions the blade inside the x-ray cabinet, providing 360 degrees movement. The operator then has the option of positioning the x-ray equipment in any position up to 3000mm from the base and within a 900mm wide window, while also allowing magnification factors, using either entered positions via the HMI or through the use of joysticks and/or buttons. This flexibility allows even the tallest blade to be fully inspected.

Using a visual camera inside the x-ray cabinet the setter can confirm when each x-ray point has been found and then presses the ‘teach’ button, storing the inspection point.

The multi access servo system would then move the blade to the next point for x-ray and the ‘teach’ button would be selected again, and so on. The number of x-ray points for each blade is determined by the size of the blade. Each test sequence is saved and stored with the name of the blade as reference.

After the production of a set of propellers, blades are selected for testing. Now that the More Control system has been programmed and the data stored, all that the operative needs to do is place a selected blade on the travelling turntable, select the name of the product from the dropdown menu on the HMI and the automated x-ray system will begin. HMI

The blade is moved to the x-ray cabinet, the safety doors close and the blade and camera moves to the first position for x-ray the image is taken and the blade then moves to the subsequent x-ray positions. When all the images have been taken the blade returns to the unload point and the x-ray images are sent to the quality control team for inspection.

More Control took advantage of the Omron NJ motion controller and the new Omron 1S servo with safety over Ethercat to give a multi access accurate positioning system. The safety over Ethercat allowed us to provide one complete solution with integrated motion, safety and database.

“This is a perfect example of More Controls turnkey system ability. From the first discussions with the customer over the x ray system conception through to design, development, installation and final commissioning we worked in partnership with the OEM to provide a bespoke control solution which takes a complex problem and gives the operator an easy to use machine.” Said Ian Mordue, MD of More Control.

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