Lufthansa Technik AG and Politecnico di Torino, the polytechnic university of Turin, Italy, have announced a new automated, non-invasive diagnostic (NDT) procedure for the initial examination of primary hydraulic flight control actuators. The Hydraulic Diagnostics (HyDiag) project will run to the end of 2020, will increase diagnostic accuracy and speed up maintenance to extend service life.
LHT explains that traditionally this initial test was performed by a mechanic, but owing to human error many areas of incipient damage remained undiscovered, because tolerance limits were still met. As a result, the actuator’s time-on-wing tends to drop as time passes.
Outlined by LHT, the HyDiag uses an industrial robot whose software was developed by the Component Services division to perform the necessary adjustments during initial examination and does not require special protection when working in the danger zone of a pressurized actuator. Using the data that is recorded, the robot also always “knows” where the optimum for each of the settings lies, and it delivers additional measurement data that has historically not been available for analysis. As a result, the final adjustment of the actuator – the certification test – is also much more precise than it previously was when completed by hand.
“The automated work process means that devices can be tested faster, more data can be generated, and new diagnostic procedures can be used. That enables us to undertake much more extensive troubleshooting than we ever could before,” said Michael Burke, who heads up the HyDiag project for Lufthansa Technik.