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Quality Manufacturing Today Magazine September 2008

Quality Manufacturing Today Magazine September 2008


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Published by Pat Coyne
News on high tech metrology and measurement
News on high tech metrology and measurement

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Published by: Pat Coyne on Sep 25, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In the space of 11 years up to 2017, we
will go from producing a Blisk every three
months to one Blisk every eight hours.


A complex new product development, Blisks, for the huge JSF programme,
presents an unprecedented challenge for Rolls-Royce on how to integrate
CMM measurement technologies into new manufacturing processes.
By Brendan Coyne.

F-35 Lightning II

p8,10,12,13 R-R dean whiteside.qxp 29/08/2008 17:15 Page 8

Small Tool Instruments and Data Management


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Mitutoyo introduces

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the power plant. The fan system consists of three
large diameter Blisks, which will initially be man-
ufactured in existing Rolls-Royce plants in the UK.
For those customers who wish to have STOVL
capability, the Rolls-Royce Liftsystem is the only
option. The Liftsystem comprises of four key com-
ponents, one of which is the shaft driven liftfan.
The liftfan contains a further two large diameter
Blisks. The Liftsystem can produce a thrust of in
excess of 40,000lbs. Compare this to the Harrier,
which in combat mode in conventional flight only
produces about 30,000 lbs of thrust.
What does this mean in terms of a Blisk New
Product Introduction (NPI) programme within the
company? The first thing Rolls-Royce did was to

establish a Blisk pre-production facility, dedicated
to manufacturing a range of new Blisks.
Introducing many new manufacturing technolo-
gies, many of which had never before been
applied on Blisks, the purpose of the pre-produc-
tion facility is to finalise the manufacturing devel-
opment and to seal the method of manufacture on
each of the Blisk components and, then, to gradual-
ly increase the facility’s output to its full capacity.
Dean Whiteside is responsible for measurement
processes in Rolls-Royce’s UK Blisk manufactur-
ing plants. Currently, Dean is probably the lead
protagonist within the organisation for the need to
develop 5 axis scanning technology within the
measurement process for more complex geome-
try, such as aerofoils and free form shapes.
One of the first challenges he faced was the
establishment of the measurement cells at
Hucknall, a Blisk pre-production facility, which
had received a capital investment of approaching
£1.3m in measurement systems alone. “At the
start of the programme, we had to demonstrate
our capability, in a small demonstration area, to
produce one Blisk every three months. Now,
we’ve migrated to pre-production and are
required to demonstrate that we can produce at a
rate of one Blisk per week. When we migrate
from pre- production and go to full factory pro-
duction, (in a facility yet to be built) the rate has to
increase to one Blisk per 8-hour shift at peak vol-


QMT September 08

F-35 engine test



Coordinate Metrology

Laser Calibrations for larger
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machines and machine tools

CMM Reverifications to
Service / Repairs / Upgrades

to minimise

retrofit for most
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Call us on:
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Email: sales@che-metrology.co.uk


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• 3D Scanning
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• High accuracy
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p8,10,12,13 R-R dean whiteside.qxp 29/08/2008 17:16 Page 10

Can you measure dreams?

Imagine a goal. Plan how to achieve it. Dream of its

perfection. Its right measure. Think how to improve

it. How to make it faultless. With the reliability of

the greatest metrology brands, the most innovative

measuring systems, the farsightedness of a Group

that invests in the future, Hexagon Metrology grows

together with you. Day by day. The right measure for

your dreams.

Hexagon Metrology Ltd

Metrology House

Halesfield 13

Telford, Shropshire, TF7 4PL

Phone 0870 446 2667


Leitz Micra

p11_Hexagon.qxp 29/08/2008 15:39 Page 1

ume. So in the space of 11 years up to 2017, we
will go from producing a Blisk every three months
to one Blisk every eight hours. Clearly, we have a
major challenge ahead of us in ramping up to
these numbers.”
This NPI programme is unprecedented within
Rolls-Royce. Explains Dean Whiteside, “We are
introducing up to six new products, whilst simul-
taneously introducing new manufacturing
processes to produce these parts. We have very
demanding customers in the Liftsystem and F-136
projects who are understandably pushing manu-
facturing to make sure they meet their critical

Measurement challenge

Blisk manufacture involves extremely complex
processes. The majority of these processes are
novel and, as a result, there has been a significant
demand on the measurement processes to support
and establish the capability of these processes.
Measurement plays a critical role in this plant, not
only in product conformance at the end of the line
but also to assist in manufacturing development.
“Right from the outset, it was clear to me that
measurement, within a concurrent engineering
environment, would play a key role in ensuring
the successful delivery of JSF Blisks. To meet these
tight schedules we had to utilise the capabilities of
off-line programming of coordinate measuring
machines (CMMs).
For off-line programming, we required function-

ality which would allow us to produce a very
large number of CMM part programs over a very
short period of time for the six variants of Blisk.”
Adding to the challenge was the absence of a
physical part to program around on the CMM. “To
meet the tight customer milestones, we had to
minimise the time the parts spent on the CMMs.
We couldn’t wait for the parts to arrive at the
CMM and then begin writing the CMM program.
This would add a significant lead-time onto the
manufacture of the first off Blisks, which was com-
pletely unacceptable.
When the actual part arrives at the CMM, I
allowed a day per CMM program to test and prove
out the off-line written part program on the actual
part. For this to work, we required the off-line pro-
gramming software to be capable of producing
and simulating 90-95% of the required functional-
ity with minimal time required for subsequent
editing. However, we soon found that in reality
the level of capability required fell some way
short. For various reasons, the off-line program-
ming systems were only capable of delivering 40-
50% of the required functionality. (These com-
ments are not aimed at saying a particular CMM
software does not deliver what we require. We’ve
come to the conclusion within Rolls-Royce that
there is no one single offline solution that provides
all our requirements in terms of CMM program-
ming capability).”
The primary reason for this is that the Blisk
component is one of the most complex parts that
Rolls-Royce manufactures featuring a combina-
tion of prismatic and freeform geometry. The
more complex functionality required to measure
Blisks was not supported by the off-line systems.
Also, several items of ancillary equipment that are
key to the measurement process, such as rotary
tables, were not integrated, at that point, within
the virtual CMM environment. A true measure-
ment process couldn’t be fully simulated prior to
the part actually arriving at the CMM. This meant
the measurement team still had to write a large
proportion of the CMM programs on the physical
part when it arrived at the CMM.

Product Life Cycle Management

Adding to the challenge, the measurement
process has to operate within the context of a
Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) rollout
being piloted by JSF Blisk manufacturing within
Rolls-Royce. PLM works if all the data relation-
ships are truly integrated. For example, in the
Blisk programme, Design Engineering, based in
Bristol are the authority for geometry of the prod-
uct. They interface directly with the component
owners, who themselves are the individuals
responsible for the product within the manufactur-
ing environment. The component owners can
interface directly, (exchange geometry in terms of
master models, stage models etc.) with the various
machining process owners via UGS TeamCentre


QMT September 08



p8,10,12,13 R-R dean whiteside.qxp 29/08/2008 17:16 Page 12

within the manufacturing environment. The
process owners are the individuals responsible for
the various manufacturing processes used to man-
ufacture Blisks. The ability to interface between
Design Engineering, Component Owners and
Process Owners provides full geometry associativ-
ity. If there are any design changes driven by
Design Engineering an automatic cascade of these
changes and the relevant associativity is applied
to the manufacturing processes via the
TeamCentre environment.

PLM does support concurrent engineering. But
where does measurement fit in? “It doesn’t cur-
rently,” says Dean Whiteside. “ (As far as we are
aware), there is no PLM solution that truly inte-
grates the measurement process within the PLM
environment as it does with CAM. The measure-
ment process was isolated from the
PLM/TeamCentre environment. It was and still is a
stand alone process with no direct interfacing
with the PLM system. This can cause major prob-
lems, particularly for the measurement process if
geometry changes are not communicated to the
whole integrated project team. Rolls-Royce uses
UniGraphics Siemens PLM and we are in the very
early stages of starting to understand how to
migrate the measurement process into UGS PLM.
But progress is slow and there is still a very long
way to go!

Today, measurement is an integral element of
our manufacturing systems. We need to ensure
that latest measurement capabilities are built into
future PLM developments. Equally, we need to
recognise that since original implementation,
technologies have advanced. Alternative forms of
sensor probing devices need to be investigated
such as on-machine, and 5-axis CMM scanning,
that potentially offer a more cost effective and
integrated solution. These developments clearly
need to be captured in the PLM environment.”G

E-mail: dean.whiteside@rolls-royce.com


QMT September 08



p8,10,12,13 R-R dean whiteside.qxp 29/08/2008 17:16 Page 13

Janicki Industries, based in Sedro-Woolley,

Washington, USA, produces high-precision
advanced composite tools and excels at
designing and fabricating large complex compos-
ite tooling. The company’s (pole) models, test
equipment and full-size metallic and composite

structures are typically used as prototypes for
aerodynamic property testing, radar testing or for
any other customer requirement. Today, tooling
expertise developed at Janicki serves the majority
of international aircraft OEMs as well as manufac-
turers of boats, motor homes, buses and mono-
rails. The company has a growing involvement in
tooling development for composite wind turbine
blades, and occasionally participates in special
projects, such as prototyping speedy racing yachts
that compete in the renowned America’s Cup.
When developing new tooling concepts for
large prototype structures, Janicki faces short turn-
around times and high-precision requirements. As
a result, the company’s metrology specialists are
fully occupied with systematic quality verification
of structural assemblies being developed. “To
meet the growing demand for tighter timing dead-
lines in developing large aircraft fuselage sections,
our metrology team opted for three Metris Laser
Radar systems to validate OEMs’ geometric
requirements,” John Janicki, vice president of
Janicki Industries, stated. “Deciding factors were
that the laser radars operate without spherically-
mounted retro-reflectors (SMRs) or remote
devices, and reliably deal with composite surfaces
and sharp scanning angles. In automatic mode,


QMT September 08


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