Turbine maintenance measurement support

Improving power generation within gas turbine blade maintenance management

Physical Digital® has just completed a measurement and inspection project supporting a power generation company with their turbine maintenance. As the only UK company to use the highest-resolution GOM GmbH 3D scanning systems, offering measurement to traceable standards, Physical Digital is perfectly placed to facilitate the support, planning and control of gas turbine maintenance and repair schedules. 


Reduce plant down time and prolong maintenance schedules

Manufacturing technology underpins the capability of today’s power generation industry, with the continuous development of advanced solutions. A constant drive exists to improve the engines’ operating performance, with companies seeking to increase component efficiencies, reduce weight and cost in order to achieve the optimum technical solution.

The industry needs to achieve Best-in-Class capability across the full portfolio of manufacturing technology themes – including advanced measurement. Physical Digital provides a complete solution of 3D optical measurement, inspection and reverse engineering services, deploying advanced non-contact 3D scanning systems produced by industry-leading specialists GOM. This assists clients to reduce plant down time and to prolong maintenance schedules. 

Optimise MRO timescales with 3D scanning and inspection

Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) are significant cost factors throughout the product cycle of industrial and aerospace gas turbine systems. Periodic planned overhaul is necessary for the efficiency and safe operation of turbines and the inspection and measurement needs to be fast and effective in order to return the turbine back into service as quickly as possible.

The lifetime and performance of blades impacts on their overall utility and is especially critical where they are used in demanding environments where temperatures are higher than the melting point of the material used.

Turbine blades require highly accurate geometry and positioning in order to avoid potential energy conversion efficiency loss and performance failure. The high tolerance applied to both the blade geometry and aerodynamic alignment tolerance demands advanced measurement solutions. The GOM ATOS system is globally-recognised and is the approved technology deployed within many of the leading aero engine and gas turbine power generation companies. Physical Digital is the United Kingdom’s largest and longest-established GOM system service provider, with over 25 years of measurement experience within these demanding and challenging industries.

3D scanning captures more information than traditional inspection methods

Any turbine maintenance schedule will require the engagement of both 2D and 3D coordinate measurement to be completed for safety or performance critical components. Damaged components and surfaces will require in-depth verification and investigation. Physical Digital’s 3D scanning services enable the full dimensional measurement of blades to ensure that they conform to acceptable standards. In addition to the dimensional reports, wear and tear analysis on a wide range of blade features can also be completed.

Utilising Physical Digital’s experience and expertise in the deployment of 3D structured light systems for the measurement of complex geometries, our clients can achieve cost savings while reducing downtime and can make the best decisions for safe operation of their gas turbine systems. Compared to traditional tactile inspection methods, 3D structured light systems capture a higher density of point data in a far shorter time frame. Non-contact 3D structured light systems are able to easily verify the aerodynamic shape of the blade surface and analyse key aerofoil features including flow inlet/exit angles, blade pitch, profile mean lines, chord lines, stagger angles, throat areas and camber angles. The data collected can be stored and analysed later without the costly addition of remeasuring the component.

Blade inspection

Physical Digital’s certified engineering team are able to provide a variety of parametric inspection reports including 2D section/curve analysis, batch inspection and trend analysis. Various aspects of inspection and analysis can be carried out on all types of turbine components, including but not confined to:

  • Inspection of ceramic cores
  • Analysis of shrinkage and warp
  • Inspection of wax models
  • Optimisation of injection moulds/processes
  • Control of cooling tunnel systems (EMP)
  • Shape and dimension analysis of cast and forged components

All our solutions underpin the enabling technologies, allowing more optimised designs, the key tools which enable engineers to model, simulate, design, integrate and validate products before they ever physically exist.

System engineering is also key to the ability to achieve the best physical and functional design, to validate that design and manage the system attributes.

For more information about our award-winning services, contact us.