L3I Wows Onlookers with On-Site Turbine Inspection
BERLIN, Sept. 12, 2011 — Level 3 Inspection, a process engineering and inspection firm headquartered in Stuart, Florida, impressed observers in an August industrial gas turbine (IGT) field scanning project performed in record time at global IGT giant Siemens’s Berlin manufacturing center. Master scanning technician Wade Rigsby scanned a series of combustors, ducts and vanes on-site. The massive parts never had to leave the warehouse floor.
“By making our SmartFAI (First Article Inspection) process portable and global, we’ve demonstrated that we can pull together an inspection process on site without adding any down time for the customer,” said Scott McAfee, chief engineer and COO, referring to L3I’s First Article Inspection service. “High data density combined with complete inspection according to specs and requirements gives our customers the insights that they need to optimize their operations.”
L3I is expanding its field scanning operations to provide IGT component and engine manufacturers with plentiful surface dimensional data to find subtle process anomalies and wear trends, without the parts ever needing to leave the factory or power plant. With part surface point densities as high as 800 points per square millimeter — each point having its own precise 3D coordinates — manufacturers can gain new insights are available into the root causes of performance limits, develop a rework process, or verify repairs on any turbine engine component.
“Speed is the key. Traditional CMM-based processes are far too slow and costly in today’s competitive gas turbine parts market,” said Bill Greene, L3I’s CEO and director of business development. “Worse, CMM data are sparse and don’t allow trending over time. Fortunately, our 21st Century white light scanning experience, combined with the strongest airfoil domain expertise offers a vastly superior dimensional inspection capability for turbine manufacturers and their customers around the world.”
L3I prefers to treat its customers as partners. Any inspection process begins with a candid discussion of the problem. A comprehensive inspection strategy is planned and launched. Once a part has been scanned and a report saved, the inspection and analysis processes become repeatable, and can then be duplicated on other replacement parts or serviced parts. Ongoing trend analysis allows the team to study wear patterns, changes over time, or variations from part to part.
Facing a market that is tougher than ever, IGT manufacturers have to be ready to adjust — or overhaul — their design and manufacturing strategies while parts are still in development. Manufacturers need enough information to make the correct decisions the first time. By bringing fast, comprehensive, and repeatable inspection directly to the customer, L3I’s on-site approach solves the speed versus accuracy dilemma.
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