SAE ARP598 and ISO 4407 Compliant Technological Advances in Wear Debris Particle Imaging for On-Site Condition Monitoring in the Aerospace Industry

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-2123

Published:
  • 2017-09-19
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Abstract:
The need to maintain aircraft in remote, harsh environments poses significant challenges for on-site condition monitoring. For example, in desert assignments or on-board ships, frequent rotation of staff with variable levels of skill requires condition monitoring equipment that is not only robust and portable but also user friendly and requiring a minimum of training to set up and use correctly. The mainstays of any on-site aerospace maintenance program are various fluid and particulate condition monitoring tests that convey information about the current mechanical state of the system. In the front line of these is the collection and analysis of wear debris particles retrieved from a component’s lubricating or power transmission fluid or from magnetic plugs. It is standard practice within the specialist laboratory environment to view and image wear debris using a microscope. However, it is not possible to view both macroscopic and microscopic particles at the same magnification and shallow depth of focus at high magnifications means that microscope stands must be particularly stable in order to view and capture blur-free images. Thus, a good quality microscope will normally weigh upwards of 20kgs. The addition of motorised stages to obtain images with artificially extended fields of view or depth of focus, makes such microscopes not only more expensive but also more weighty and unsuitable for on-site use.The current work has researched and developed new imaging technology that caters specifically to the need for robust, portable imaging equipment that is easy to set up and use. The novel system is ISO 4407 and SAE ARP598 compliant. It has a range of on-screen magnifications from x20 to x500 and produces sharply focused one-shot images that allow both macroscopic and microscopic particles to imaged and analysed at the same magnification such as would not be possible using a conventional microscope.
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