Safran Helicopter Engines has started its first automated helicopter engine turbine blade production line.
Initiated in 2012, the line is today 100% operational. The new line will manufacture turbine blade used in the company’s product line. The new production line can produce more than 100,000 airfoils a year, the company announced today.
Apart from time being cut by half to build each blade, the new production line also features several robots and automated cells capable of performing every process (milling, polishing, etching, 3-D control, and surface finishing) from raw material to finished, ready-to-assemble turbine airfoil.
Turbine blades are considered complex parts in an aero-engine to produce. Designed to sustain high temperature and constraints, their manufacturing tolerance is measured in microns.
Safran Helicopter Engines’ “Factory of the future” program was launched in 2010, with the opening of the Joseph Szydlowski plant in Bordes (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). This was followed by the Mantes-Buchelay (Yvelines) plant opening in 2011 and, in 2015, the Cap 2020 Tarnos modernization program.
Also in 2015, Safran Helicopter Engines introduced the serial production of additive manufactured (3-D printed) components in Bordes. Between now and 2020, other “lines of the future” will be introduced in Safran Helicopter Engines production facilities.