There is no need to say anything about the importance of high precision and perfection in aircraft engine components. The requirements for components to be manufactured are higher in hardly any other industry than in aviation. This also results in special requirements for production and quality assurance.

Tradition and innovation
Founded in 1934 as BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH, the company now has more than 10,000 employees worldwide. For many decades, today's MTU Aero Engines has been one of the leading global system manufacturers of engine components.

Multiple quality inspections
Christian Ewert as the project manager and Martin Gschwendtner as project planner are responsible for special projects at MTU in the quality inspection department. Thus, they were also responsible for the "Automation in the testing process" project.

Time-consuming processes
The automation project was designed to optimise time-consuming processes. In the past, the employee from the testing centre used to set up the component device on the rotary table of the measuring machine and suspend the required measuring probes in the measuring machine. The component was then lifted onto the device from a box using the indoor crane.

Increase in utilisation
As you can see, setup of the measuring machine and the subsequent dismantling were time-consuming activities. During this time, the machine stopped and could not be used to add value.

Paper-free processes
In addition to increasing utilisation, the topic of Industry 4.0 was also on the agenda. MTU's aim was to implement the greatest possible and most sensible automation. For this purpose, manual activities should be reduced to a minimum.

Object of study: automation
In 2015, the bachelor thesis of Tobias Ott was due. As part of his work, he devoted himself to general basic research on the automation of measuring machines in production.

Optimised processes
Setup is an important process step. In the past, this was time-consuming and uneconomical to carry out on the measuring machine; but now setup takes place outside the measuring room at an independent setup station.

Intelligent components
A small RFID chip on the pallet plays a decisive role here. The link to all system-relevant data in the CERTA/MTU database is located here. This information is available in the CERTA system.

Reduced setup times
The pure automation of the measuring process represented a major step forward for MTU. With this, the downtime of the measuring machines during set-up could be reduced from 20 minutes to about 2 minutes. The measuring process itself has also been optimised.

Seamless data transfer
After the measuring process, the ZEISS measuring machine transfers the measured values to the CERTA system, where the measuring intensity and the further necessary work steps are decided.

Prospect
There were occasional concerns about the new way of working and the new technique, i.e. the robot. But the entire testing team was open to the innovations. After several months of operation, it can now be summarised that all goals have been achieved.

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