Defense

August 24, 2012

FRCSE powers up some of Navy’s mightiest engines

navair-engien2
Navy photograph. An F414-GE-400 turbofan engine that powers the F/A-18 Super Hornet Strike Fighter sits in a Fleet Readiness Center Southeast engine test cell waiting testing in mid-April. The engine is capable of producing 22,000 pounds of static thrust, although the computer-controlled test cell has a maximum thrust capacity of 40,000 pounds.

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps pilots fly fixed-wing aircraft that are turbine powered, some by internal fans and others by external propellers, with engines requiring service and repair often performed at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla.

FRCSE is expanding its manufacturing capabilities using technologically advanced equipment, such as vertical and high-speed grinders and precision measuring machines to ensure reliable power to the military’s high-performance aircraft.

Whether turboprop aircraft like the P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol aircraft powered by four Allison T-56-A-14 engines with propellers or the two F414-GE-400 turbofan internal engines that power the F/A-18 Super Hornet attack fighter, they all must be in tiptop shape to support any mission.
Carl Finger, engine machine shop supervisor in the FRCSE Crinkley Engine Facility, said these power plants are staying on the aircraft longer than ever before. He said the engines division has a dedicated machine shop to rework worn parts to like new condition.

Machinist Ed Harper sets up a Reform High Speed Blade Tip Grinder to grind high-pressure compressor rotor blades from a TF34-GE-100 turbofan engine in the Crinkley Engine Facility at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast July 27. The Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft is powered by two engines each capable of producing more than 9,000 pounds of thrust.

“Our new equipment is producing better engine performance, saving time, and giving war fighters improved mission capability,” said Finger. “The high speed grinding technology integrated with laser measuring creates a more accurate final product.

In a turbine engine, air is pulled into the engine inlet from the fan. It flows into the compressor where the air pressure is stepped up using many rows of blades rotating 400 times per second. Each fan consists of a hub with a set of blades extending outward from the center. The pressurized air enters the combustion section where it is heated to more than 1,000 degrees, mixed with jet fuel and ignited. The hot exhaust passes through the turbine section made up of small blades and vanes attached to a rotor that extracts mechanical energy to turn the fan (compressor) connected by a central shaft.

The remaining energy provides thrust to the engine by increasing the velocity through the nozzle. Thrust is the force that propels the jet through the air. If additional thrust is required, more fuel can be sprayed into the exhaust and ignited if the engine is equipped with an afterburner.

FRCSE purchased two Reform High Speed Blade Tip Grinders, each turn at 3,000 revolutions per minute. Finger said the high-speed technology allows artisans to grind blade tips on the same axis of rotation that the rotors spin to simulate engine conditions. The engine blades must rotate at high speeds to counteract the force of the grinder. The high-speed feature allows the blades to extend fully during the grinding process for better results.

It is essential that engine blades be machined evenly. Unbalanced grinding can make a blade heavier on one side than on the other, which can lead to heavy vibration, the loosening of internal structural bolts, accelerated engine wear or even failure. The Reform grinder measures every blade at every stage of production with laser technology to ensure grinding accuracy. It generates machining specifications on each serialized part for future engineering purposes.

The machines grind High Pressure Compressor rotor blades from a TF34-GE-100 turbofan engine installed on the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and the Navy’s S-3 Viking aircraft. Each aircraft is powered by two engines each capable of producing more than 9,000 pounds of thrust.

In addition, the machine supports the F404-GE-402 engine that powers the F/A-18A-D Hornet with 17,700 pounds of static thrust per engine, and the F414-GE-400 turbofan engines that power the Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler Airborne Electronic Attack aircraft. Each engine is capable of producing 22,000 pounds of static thrust according to the Navy Fact File.

Another technology solution FRCSE is utilizing is the DANOBAT Vertical Grinder to machine stationary engine components like stator cases. It replaces the Pope Grinding Spindle with its outmoded manual dial indicator and the Electronic Run-Out Machine used to perform pre and post production measurements.

“I was happy to see that go,” Finger said of the EROM. “It did really good on the rotors, but when we converted to laser measurements it never really worked. It was touchy; it gave us problems.”

The high-precision DANOBAT integrates different machining options for a wide range of engine components. The machine uses touch probes to provide induction measurements thus ensuring parts can be held to diametric tolerances that can be machined. Artisans use the equipment to grind the TF34 HPC forward and aft stator cases, and finish grind stator vanes that enhance airflow into the engine’s compressor.

FRCSE performs out-of-airframe testing on all jet engines repaired at the facility to ensure maximum reliability and performance to the Fleet. The computer-controlled test cells have a thrust capacity of 40,000 pounds and a bed capacity of 100,000 pounds. All engines are tested through their entire operating range in both automated and manual modes to verify oil pressure, exhaust, gas temperature, vibration, speed, and bearing-vent pressure.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox

Tyndall AFB takes F-22 pilot training to next level

Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox Two F-22 Raptors and a T-38 Talon from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, fly together during a 43rd Fighter Squadron Basic Course training mission Oct. 7, 2013 over Florida. A sortie begin...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OĆ­Shea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 
 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>