Lufthansa Technik AG and the Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy, aim to develop a faster, more precise procedure to diagnose safety-critical hydraulic flight control actuators through a joint project that runs through the end of 2020.
This Hydraulic Diagnostics (HyDiag) project between the university and Lufthansa's MRO company is developing an automated, non-invasive diagnostic procedure aimed at detecting damage or making precise adjustments beyond the capability of human inspections.
Many areas of incipient damage on actuators go undiscovered with existing human inspection methods "because they were still within the tolerance limits, but just a short time later, these areas could also trigger a repeated exchange of the actuator", Lufthansa states.
The goal of the HyDiag procedure is to extend the service life of actuators with a more data-centric approach. The actuator is stimulated during initial examination with a unique oscillation pattern that records all the component-specific reactions to a stimulation, gaining data that can be used to project wear and tear more accurately.
The HyDiag procedure also lowers human mechanic safety risk with an industrial robot that can make necessary adjustments during examinations automatically and does not require special protection when working in the danger zone of a pressurized actuator. All the adjustment tools for the robot were manufactured using 3D printing at Lufthansa Technik's Additive Manufacturing Center.