Instrumentation supplier ups production capacity

Rotadata, a Derby-based provider of instrumentation for turbomachinery, has installed a new Sodick AD55L and a refurbished AQ35L EDM machine. Supplied by Sodi-Tech EDM, the two machines are set to help the company reduce lead-times and gain access to greater turnover without increasing head count.

 Moving towards the company’s 40th year within the turbomachinery industry, Rotadata provides full turnkey solutions from concept and consultation, through to full on-site installation and product testing support. As well as supplying pyrometry, telemetry, blade tip timing, blade tip clearance and traverse products, the company offers a range of advanced instrumentation and machining services to the turbine research/development and validation sector.Approximately 65% of its customers are from the aerospace industry,with the remaining 35% in power generation. The company has more than 100 clients in over 40 countries.

“A typical machining project might see us take a civil turbine engine and produce all of the component holes and instrumentationrequired to run test, validation and development programmes,” explains Rotadata’s Managing Director Simon Taylor. “If we can help achieve just a 1% improvement in efficiency through our installations, it can potentially equate to customer savings worth millions of pounds.”

This globally-renowned,ISO9001-approvedSME says that its main competitors are the in-house resources of the major turbomachinery manufacturers, and that expanding its EDM capacity was a vital part of Rotadatamaintaining its market advantage.

According to Rotadata, there is no substitute for EDM when it comes to part modifications for thermocouple, pressure tube and UCTS (Uniform Crystal Temperature Sensor) installations. The precision and control needed for the required tolerances is much better controlled by EDMwhen handling thematerials and temperatures associated with turbomachinery projects. For example, extremely close tolerance work is required in preparation for the vacuum furnace brazing of Kiel probes into an NGV leading edge.

The die sink EDMs at Rotadata are most commonly used to create trenches and holes in preparation for thermocouples, pressure tubes and UCTS, or other instrumentation equipment able to deliver complete validation of predicted customer models. The company can generate blind and through-holes as small as 0.10mm, and slots as narrow as 0.15mm.Typical aerospace materials processed includenickel-based super-alloys, withcycle times ranging from 1 to 18 hours, depending on machining complexity.

“A lot of the holes we generate are produced at compound angles, which is where the vectoring capability of the Sodick machines makes things significantly quicker and simpler for the technicians,” explains Mr Taylor. “I would say our new Sodick AD55L is around 40-45% quicker than some of our existing die sink machines.”