Elysca has developed CAD/CAE software that allows tooling to be designed for coating and plating complex parts such as turbine blades, nozzles and guide vanes, landing gear and hydraulic actuation components.

Previously the tooling for plating would be designed by experienced engineers, but the process was slow and the results inconsistent in quality.
The process of design, manufacture and testing could take two months, says Dr Leslie Bortels, Elysca’s software development manager. “With our new system we can easily experiment with six or more designs in a day,”

Dr Alan Rose, aerospace business manager at Elsyca, says: “This is not new technology; it is very similar to fluid dynamics or thermal analysis software. The methodology is tried and tested, but it is unique in electroplating.”

In essence a CAD 3-D model is imported, and then engineers can use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) using the same principles and solutions for solving equations in fluid dynamics, allowing them to work out exact current requirements in electroplating situations.

“We actually started selling the software, but found that although many companies were interested it was the logistics of implementing it that they struggled with. We now offer a complete design service with more engineers and offer more design and optimisations specific to individual requirements,” Rose explains.

Elysca estimates that a 30% reduction in lead times, 20% reduction on material usage, and 10% reduction in manpower are conservative estimates of the potential benefits. “We are already working with Rolls-Royce for applications of our design service, and several other high-profile aerospace companies that want to remain nameless because of the great competitive advantage it gives them,” says Rose.

For example, in high end nickel and platinum plating of nozzle guide vanes Elsyca can demonstrate significant benefits. Its unique capability to measure and refine plating bath characteristics, electrical conductivity, plating efficiency and polarisation behaviour, will improve the consistency and thickness of the plating, minimise materials used and maximise yield. So far platinum material savings of 14% have been achieved.

Source: Flight Daily News