Third Dimension has recently worked with a major aerospace manufacturer to enable a significant improvement to the efficiency of its world class engines. It has achieved this by developing an inspection system using the GapGun.

The GapGun’s leading profile measurement capabilities are used during production to help minimise and control the clearance gap between the fan blade tip at the front of the engine, and the surrounding casing.

Third Dimension supplied the aerospace company with several GapGun Pro systems, including high resolution sensors, positioning aids and fixtures. These measure the clearance gap and are an important method of quality control. By minimising this gap, not only is the engine made more efficient but noise levels are decreased and reliability is increased by the improved build quality.

Measurements are taken at a fixed point from the blade leading and trailing edge. Each measurement is recorded and is comparable to other measurements, delivering a high degree of consistency.

Specially designed positioning aids can be inserted onto the end of the sensor which sit against the surface of the fan blade tip/ casing for quick and easy application. This delivers highly accurate and repeatable results without the need for skilled operation.

The original method of measuring the clearance used a "slip" or "taper" gauge, whilst comparably, GapGun delivers gauge R&R (repeatability and reliability) scores over four times better than the original method.

This measurement is very important to the fuel efficiency of the engine. The manufacturer identified the gap as one of the most important variables critical to the performance of an engine. When air passes through the gap and misses the blade, it is counted as lost energy. Therefore, controlling and minimising this gap is a big contributor to the fuel efficiency savings of their latest engines.

GapGuns have been installed on the production lines of all the latest aircraft engines at this manufacturing site.

John Kane, Chief Business Development Officer of Third Dimension, said: “Minimising the clearance gap between the tip of the fan blade and the surrounding casing is critical to engine efficiency, safety and minimisingnoise levels of all modern aircraft.

“GapGun is now being used to quickly and easily measure this gap reliably and accurately. Manufacturers can now confidently produce their engines with a consistent gap, and work towards minimising this.”