Aerospace

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Progressive has been a major supplier to the aerospace and aircraft industry for over 40 years, providing state-of-the-art surface preparation and enhancement equipment. By designing, manufacturing, installing, and servicing hundreds of systems, Progressive Surface has gained extensive experience and understanding of the requirements of this industry. There is not a single competitor who has as vast a knowledge base as Progressive Surface.

Over the years Progressive Surface has developed numerous technological improvements for the aircraft industry, such as PC-based process monitoring, rotary lance peening, gravity accelerated shot peening, closed loop plasma process controllers, the 100HE high enthalpy plasma torch, and many others. The applications shown below are just a few examples of Progressive Surface's aerospace experience and technology.

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High-performance coatings for aerospace components applied with 100HE® High Enthalpy Plasma Torch

Progressive Surface's revolutionary 100HE High Enthalpy Thermal Spray technology was utilized to spray low-stressed abradable coatings on high performance aircraft engine casings. This application was especially challenging due to the thin wall thickness of the case and illustrated the 100HE's capability of applying very thick spray coatings with no internal stresses. The high spray rates and industry-leading deposit efficiency offered by the 100HE makes this plasma process the most efficient thermal spray process for abradable coatings.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - High-performance coatings for aerospace components applied with 100HE High Enthalpy Plasma Torch

HVOF spray chrome replacement coating on aircraft landing gear

For years chrome plating has been utilized in the manufacture of aircraft landing gear components. In light of rising environmental concerns about chrome plating, a thermal sprayed coating alternative is now being implemented by many aerospace landing gear manufacturers. HVOF systems have now been installed at nearly every landing gear component manufacturer. The resulting products have improved performance with less environmental impact. This is the perfect application for Progressive Surface since it couples our process control expertise with our custom equipment design knowledge to produce the most controlled productive systems available.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - HVOF spray chrome replacement coating on aircraft landing gear

Coating densification and smoothing utilizing large shot peening media and Gravity Accelerated Shot Peening (GASP) process

The Progressive Surface patented GASP process is a unique surface enhancement process. The media does not receive its energy from either compressed air or centrifugal wheels, but rather is accelerated by gravitational force. Due to the large size media, high compressive stress is achievable and the resulting surface finish is very smooth. This unique shot peening process is used to peen large airfoil components where resulting surface finish is critical as well as used to densify thermal sprayed coatings to improve their performance and eliminates the need for vibratory finishing.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Coating densification and smoothing utilizing large shot peening media and Gravity Accelerated Shot Peening (GASP) process

Low distortion ceramic bead peening of wide chord aircraft engine fan blades

Most new aircraft engines are designed with shroud-less wide cord fan blades. These parts are usually very large with complex geometry and have a thin or hollow cross-section, making this a very challenging application for traditional shot peening equipment. Progressive Surface's special tooling, process, and equipment produces a shot peening process that produces uniform compressive stresses over the entire part while minimizing part distortion. In addition, Progressive Surface's dual nozzle robotic approach is more efficient and productive than the traditional shot peening process it replaces.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Low distortion ceramic bead peening of wide chord aircraft engine fan blades

Aircraft structural part shot peening

Aircraft structures shot peening is a very challenging application due to the complexity of the parts peened. Parts vary in length, width, and cross-section and have many intricate details and features which all need to be shot peened uniformly. The shot peening machine utilized for these components needs to be flexible while able to accommodate a high volume of various components. Progressive Surface's pneumatic multi-nozzle pass-through systems are uniquely configured specifically for these types of structures. These systems produce uniform intensity and coverage and high peening rates. Progressive Surface has also developed software algorithms to adjust shot peening coverage based on part size and width.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Aircraft structural part shot peening

Aircraft landing gear shot peening

Aircraft landing gear shot peening offers many challenges. These components have very complex non-symmetric shapes. Progressive Surface offers a wide variety of multi-axis robotic and semi-automatic machines designed around the shot peening requirements for both new landing gear components as well as the many repair operations that are performed once the aircraft are in service. These Progressive Surface shot peening machines incorporate multiple peening processes such as traditional nozzle peening, rotary lance devices for clevis bores and pockets, and long ID peening lances for internal surfaces of landing gear pistons, cylinders, and axles.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Aircraft landing gear shot peening

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Aircraft landing gear shot peening


Ultra high-pressure (55,000 psi) water jet stripping for aircraft engine components

Water jet stripping is a critical process in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of turbine engines. This process is widely used for the removal of thermal sprayed coating from stationary or rotating engine components. The water jet stripping process replaces conventional mechanical or chemical coating removal processes. It is faster, environmentally friendly, and is able to remove these difficult coatings without damage to the parent material. Progressive Surface has built more waterjet cleaning systems than any of its competitors and truly understands the requirements of this demanding process. Progressive Surface has a line of specially designed nozzles and parameters optimized for removal of these difficult coatings without damage to substrate materials. Progressive Surface's PRIMS Pro® process monitoring software is incorporated into all of these systems assuring process consistency and traceability of parts processed.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Ultra high-pressure (55,000 psi) water jet stripping for aircraft engine components

Computer Integrated Thermal Spray (CITS) Pro®

CITS Pro® is the heart of every Progressive Surface closed-loop multi-process thermal spray system. These systems are used to apply advanced coatings to many different aircraft and industrial turbine engine components from high performance combustors to clearance control coatings on cases to wear coatings on bearing surfaces. CITS Pro was specifically designed by Progressive Surface to be the most sophisticated flexible closed-loop plasma process controller in the industry. CITS Pro incorporates Progressive Surface's vast experience with thermal spray projects to provide many useful tracking and monitoring screens that allow users to control their thermal spray processes, collect consumable cost data, track maintenance, and monitor productivity of the cell.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Computer Integrated Thermal Spray (CITS) Pro®

Automatic abrasive blast cleaning of aircraft engine airfoils

Abrasive blast cleaning of aircraft engine fan blades and vanes is a time consuming task for any company performing maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aircraft engines. Typically this cleaning operation is done in a manual abrasive grit blasting cabinet. This method is inefficient and ergonomically difficult for the operators. Progressive Surface has solved this problem with its Continuous Rotary Cleaning System. These systems are designed with universal tooling and nozzle set up that provide uniform sand blast cleaning of a variety of size and shape airfoils. These systems can process up to 300 parts per hour, 4 to 6 times faster than manual abrasive blasting.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Automatic abrasive blast cleaning of aircraft engine airfoils

Rotary lance peening holes and slots

Shot peening of small features such as dovetail slots, bolt holes, clevis pin holes and deep pockets is very critical in the manufacture and performance of aircraft engine and landing gear components. These complex geometric shapes are exposed to high operating stresses and therefore the assurance of proper shot peening is essential. The complexity of these features makes it impossible for traditional nozzle peening to be effective. For this reason Progressive Surface has developed rotary lance shot peening equipment and nozzles. This rotary lance device can be mounted to a Progressive Surface gantry robot, articulated arm robot or a simple single axis gun mover to effectively access these features. Our rotary lance device can even access holes as small as 0.100" (2.5 mm) diameter.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Rotary lance peening holes and slots

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Rotary lance peening holes and slots


Robotic compressor blade peening cell for aircraft components

Progressive Surface's process and material handling expertise was accentuated in this automated compressor blade peening cell. The cell consisted of a load/unload station, root shot peening machine, turbine airfoil shot peening machine and integral masking/tooling. It would automatically load various compressor blades from a storage rack into the root peening machine then on to the airfoil peening machine and back to the load/unload station without any operator involvement, a true hands off operation. This cell is very unique in the aerospace industry and produces a high volume of components with minimal labor content, lowering the cost to overhaul these components.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Robotic compressor blade peening cell for aircraft components

Multi-axis gantry robotic shot peening of aircraft engine components

Robotic shot peening of aircraft engine components offers many advantages including superior process control, reduction in part setup times, improved productivity and uniform intensity and coverage. Progressive Surface was the first company to introduce multi-axis gantry robotic peening to the aerospace industry more than 25 years ago. Over the years Progressive Surface has installed hundreds of these systems and offers a wide variety of gantry robotic systems covering part sizes from 12" (304.8 mm) diameter to 120' (36.576 m) long. This is in addition to the many machine styles, numerous nozzle configurations and rotary lance devices that are available to improve accessibility to difficult to reach features.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Multi-axis gantry robotic shot peening of aircraft engine components

Precision robotic abrasive blasting

Precision robotic abrasive grit blasting prior to coating is a process with changing requirements. As aircraft engine coating systems get more complex, the uniformity and precision of the surface preparation operation is much more critical. In response to these new requirements, Progressive Surface has developed several automated sand blasting systems with robotic nozzle manipulation, closed loop process controls and process monitoring and reporting systems. These abrasive blast systems are setting the new standard in precision controlled grit blasting surface preparation equipment.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Precision robotic abrasive blasting

Aircraft engine shaft shot peening and abrasive blasting

Modern aircraft engines have long small diameter shafts which require both abrasive blasting and shot peening. Because of their long length and small diameter, the handling and processing of these shafts is difficult. Progressive Surface has developed numerous machine models which integrate unique material handling features with superior process technology. The resulting line of Progressive Surface shaft systems provides users with high productivity and process consistency in the manufacture of these fatigue-critical components.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Aircraft engine shaft shot peening and abrasive blasting

Shot peening large aircraft wing ribs and skins

Peening the complex components that make up an aircraft wing is very challenging. These components are large and difficult to handle. In addition their thin cross section is prone to distortion. This Progressive solution solves both of these problems. The height adjustable dual carrier monorail system is ergonomically designed to facilitate loading one part while the second is being peened. This increases the machine productivity. Dual sided peening with closed loop controlled, robotically manipulated nozzles allows for process consistency and tailoring to meet the peening requirements and control dimensional distortion.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Shot peening large aircraft wing ribs and skins

Automated aircraft wheel peening

Progressive has built many machines over the years to peen aircraft wheels and brake components. These machines have been manually loaded and have had either robotic nozzle manipulation or traditional multi-nozzles with simple gun movers. Recently Progressive provided a unique patented solution for automating the peening of these aircraft wheels. Progressive developed automatically adjustable tooling and special nozzles to allow the peening of different wheel configurations without any tooling or nozzle changes allowing customers the opportunity to couple this machine with part handling automation for hands off peening of these critical components.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Automated aircraft wheel peening

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Automated aircraft wheel peening


Suspension Plasma Spray Process as a replacement for PVD TBC aircraft engine components

Progressive's 100HE® high enthalpy plasma torch and LiquifeederHE® have been successful in developing a suspension plasma sprayed (SPS) thermal barrier coating equivalent to PVD-TBC coatings. This SPS process has a much lower capital equipment cost and lower operating cost compared to the PVD process it has replaced and offers much more flexibility in tailoring coating for the specific application requirements. Progressive's SPS process has been applied to production aircraft engine components in both turbine airfoil and combustor applications.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Suspension Plasma Spray Process as a replacement for PVD TBC aircraft engine components

Precision peening of IBR/Blisk airfoils

In an effort to improve performance and reduce weight most modern aircraft engines contain Integrally Bladed Rotors (IBR) also known as Blisks. The manufacture of these complex parts also requires innovative technology not just in the machining, but also in peening. Progressive has years of experience in developing peening processes for Blisks. Progressive has developed specialized nozzles that allow peening of these complex shapes with uniform coverage and intensity without distortion of the thin airfoil cross section.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Precision peening of IBR/Blisk airfoils

Compact peening machine for lean manufacturing airfoils

Progressive designed a line of machines specifically tailored to needs of lean manufacturing principles. Numerous ergonomic features were built into this narrow foot print machine. This allows fast loading and co-locating in manufacturing cells. Common tooling, nozzle setup and machine configuration allows improved cell flexibility. Many of these machines are peening the dovetail roots of turbine and compressor airfoils.

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Compact peening machine for lean manufacturing airfoils

Progressive Surface aerospace application - Compact peening machine for lean manufacturing airfoils