Metallic high pressure compressor (HPC) blades are a critical component in all jet engines and can incur erosional and impact damage during normal operations. During an engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) cycle, these blades are routinely removed from the engine, cleaned, inspected, and either repaired or replaced based on the type of damage and the repair capability available. A common repair technique is the use of high speed grinding to carefully blend out surface damage such as gouges, nicks, scratches, etc. primarily located on the leading and trailing edges of the blade. This is a time consuming and labor intensive process and is highly reliant on the skill level of the individual maintainer. There is a need for an improved process that can more quickly, reliably, accurately, and repeatedly inspect and repair these blades. Cybernet specializes in improving such processes through the targeted application of automation. For this effort, we designed and developed a prototype automated workcell that can identify and categorize surface defects on HPC blades and then perform high speed grinding/blend repairs on these blades based on defect size and location.




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