ToolScope monitors and documents the production of engine turbine components

To guarantee safety in the aerospace industry to the fullest extent possible, production processes must conform to numerous strict standards. To reduce the manual workload involved in the documentation of its production, a supplier for the aerospace industry is using our ToolScope assistance system – and saving time and increasing process security as a result!

The standards for aircraft construction and its components are extremely strict and must be met in full and thoroughly documented. "One supplier, who has successfully overcome these hurdles and is among the established pool of suppliers for aviation companies, wished to reduce the enormous manual workload involved during testing and documentation. They were therefore looking for a process monitoring system that also conforms to aerospace industry standards GEP11TF12 and MTV548-4. The solution comes in the form of our ToolScope," explains Marc Rottschäfer, Sales & Application Lead/Digital Solutions at CERATIZIT.

Real-time monitoring protects the workpiece and machine

The supplier in question manufactures compressor wheels for engine turbines, known as blisks, from the nickel-chrome alloy Inconel® 718. "In order to avoid expensive mistakes during the production process, reliable real-time monitoring with ToolScope is an important quality factor. The system outputs a warning in the event of premature tool wear or even breakage, which protects the machine and the workpiece," explains Marc Rottschäfer. 

However, all machining centres used for blisk production first needed to be equipped with the CERATIZIT ToolScope and the same sensor systems for coolant monitoring. The challenge here was that the machines dated from 2007 to 2020, meaning that different control systems and software versions were installed. Despite this, we managed to integrate the same platform for operating ToolScope on all the machines. The user is pleased that: every machine can be operated in the same way in terms of monitoring.

ToolScope hardware directly connected to the machine
Blisk for use in engine turbines: the holes were monitored with ToolScope.

ToolScope modules for digital documentation

ToolScope consists of various modules that can be combined with one another. These modules fulfil various monitoring tasks. "For our customer it was important for tool breakages to be identified early, thus minimising resultant damage to the tool, workpiece and machine. For this reason we are using the TS-PM (process monitoring) module, which even enables unmanned production through 100% inspection of workpieces," says Marc Rottschäfer. It has been upgraded for aerospace industry standards GEP11TF12 and MTV548-4. In this case, the spindle torque, feed axle torque, spindle speed, coolant pressure and coolant flow are monitored.

The TS-QRep (quality documentation) module helps with monitoring and real-time documentation as proof of quality for critical processes. "In order to meet the high standards required by the aerospace industry, the supplier must provide evidence of complete quality documentation. The TS-QRep module, for example, saves a PDF as proof of quality, generates a process visualisation and stores process information such as serial number, tool number and time stamp. It also documents meticulous compliance with the defined process limits," explains Marc Rottschäfer.

TS-Connect (network functions) allows ToolScope to be integrated into the company network and the automatic transfer of the generated process data and PDFs directly to the customer server to be initiated via a network push function. The customer's IT department can then create a backup of the data in accordance with their specific needs. 

Complex yet very simple

To make the blisk production even more transparent for the end customer, the machine operator can enter the serial number of the component to be machined, which means that in addition to the parameters required by aerospace industry standards, the documentation also contains the serial number of the component and the tool number. Documentation is sorted by component serial number and is easy for the customer to access as and when needed. The process can be fully automated with barcode scanners or if the data has already been imported into the control system.

By using various ToolScope modules, even complex documentation work such as that required in the aerospace industry can be completed in line with the applicable standards - and in a fraction of the time.

It automatically works!

CERATIZIT has greatly simplified the work of the supplier thanks to ToolScope. Everything that previously had to be retrieved from the system in an inconvenient and time-consuming manner is now performed automatically – and in a fraction of the time. "This too is an important quality aspect of ToolScope. The system protects the valuable workpieces and machines by giving advance warning of a tool breakage and by stopping the process if necessary. Blisk production is therefore more transparent for the end customer, and flying is even safer!" summarises Marc Rottschäfer.