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New Zeiss measuring machine to effectively measure rotor blades for helicopters

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article image A special clamping system allows two rotor blades to be positioned above each other, and quickly and reliably measured in one run
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Carl Zeiss Pty Ltd  supplied a PRO T horizontal-arm measuring machine to the AgustaWestland production facility in Anagni, Italy to measure rotor blades for helicopters, replacing an older Zeiss machine.

Helicopters are widely used in traffic observation, mountain rescues, transportation and military missions on land and at sea. The rotor blades of a helicopter play a crucial role in keeping the powerful machines in the air.

In addition to enabling the helicopter engine keep tons of weight in the air, modern rotors also reduce noise and help lower fuel consumption with their elastic compound materials and optimal aerodynamic shape. Their profiles and surfaces are perfect examples of curve and freeform surface measurement.

Having measured rotor blades for helicopters with a Zeiss SMM-MT horizontal-arm measuring machine for more than 20 years, AgustaWestland in 2008 ordered a PRO T horizontal-arm measuring machine from Carl Zeiss to replace the older machine.

The PRO T horizontal-arm measuring machine is equipped with a VAST XXT TL2 scanning probe on the RDS stepping articulating probe holder with CAA (Computer Aided Accuracy) and CAD-based CALYPSO measuring software featuring the Curve option.

The new measuring process with the PRO allows the technicians to place the rotor blade on its underside instead of on its leading edge, delivering several benefits for the company.

Thanks to a special clamping system, two rotor blades can be positioned above each other and measured in a single run, facilitating the measurement of the entire aerodynamic profile with the underside, leading edge and top of the rotor blade.

Additionally, AgustaWestland switched to the VAST XXT TL2 scanning probe on RDS, with the articulating probe holder allowing the probe to be positioned anywhere.

The CALYPSO software supplied with Zeiss measuring machines also has brought key benefits to AgustaWestland, considerably simplifying the use of the measurement data report, enabling the import of CAD data and allowing integration into the corporate network. The measuring technician is also able to start CALYPSO and Curve from a single interface at the same time using the Autorun feature.

AgustaWestland has gained significantly from the PRO T horizontal-arm measuring machine with the time required for one measuring cycle reduced by half, while ensuring that its rotor blades will continue meeting high demands on quality.

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