Aeroplane Engine Blade Repair Through Laser Metal Deposition (LMD)

Aircraft engines are expensive pieces of kit, with even an individual blade that forms part of a turbine engine in a modern jet costing the equivalent of at least £8,000. Since individual components come with such a high price tag, it makes sense for operators to repair faulty parts rather than having to replace them outright.

Thankfully it is possible to deal with wear and tear, as well as general faults and flaws, through the process of laser metal deposition (LMD). Here is a look at how this process applies to aeroplane engine blades and the perks it offers in comparison with other approaches.

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Aeroplane engine blade repair through laser metal deposition

Addressing structural damage

When aeroplane blades become chipped, cracked or damaged in any way during operation, this can not only compromise the efficiency of its operation but also create a serious safety issue that needs to be addressed.

LMD can combat this by depositing fresh materials to fill in any fault lines and even create layered joins to return the blade to its original, robust state.

Fiber lasers are ideal for this application because they can be used to interact with materials including steel and titanium alloys which are commonly found in engine blades designed for aircraft. This lets them effectively knit together components so that the repair work looks seamless and performs impeccably.

Minimising disruption

Laser metal deposition is preferable for repairing aeroplane engine blades because as well as being quick, compatible and power-efficient, it is also a process that does not create any potential complications when it is applied to the exiting material which makes up the rest of the component.

In contrast, other repair techniques tend to involve a degree of manual, mechanical handling of the blade, which can mean that it is liable to suffer even more damage during attempts to fix flaws. LMD is a non-contact solution that means the material should remain entirely intact, with the precision of the laser meaning that the melt zone is always exactly the size and shape it needs to be, no more or less.

Fiber laser beams are so stable and manageable that they make the repair process far more swift, efficient and successful, with elements of automation even becoming possible thanks to LMD.

It should be no surprise to learn that fiber lasers are therefore also used to weld turbine blades, in addition to the myriad of other applications they fulfil. There is even an entire arm of the additive manufacturing industry which is developing around the use of fiber lasers to make components from scratch, with lessons learnt here also being applied to the repair and engraving of aerospace parts.

Speak with an expert in fiber laser technology

Are you in need of advice about fiber lasers and how they can be used? SPI Lasers can offer all the information you need to better understand this cutting edge technology, so call or email us with your question and our team will be happy to answer it.


Image Source: Bneijt


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