Aero & Turbine

Aero & Turbine

Aerospace and Turbine services

ATS1Physical Digital® uses industry-leading GOM optical scanning systems, software and experience, offering bespoke support within the Aero, Turbine and Power Generation sectors.

We offer measurements across a variety of components, from very small turbine blades to turbine housings and full airframes, as well as voluminous components for digital mock-ups. 

Verified GOM Measurement Systems

The GOM system is used and verified by some of the largest aero and turbine companies in the world *** 

ATS2ABB Turbo systems

Alstom Power

Pratt & Whitney


Solar Turbines

Turbine Services

Maintenance and Repair and Overhaul (MRO) are enormous cost factors throughout the entire aero and turbine product cycle. In addition to wear and tear analyses, Physical Digital’s optical measurement technology supports the planning and control of repair work: 

  • Digital coordinate measurement of damaged/prepared surfaces
  • Verification of material deposition
  • Inspection of completed repairs


Quality Inspection for Turbine Blades

The use of structured light 3D scanners to measure complex geometry can greatly reduce inspection time compared to the traditional use of CMM measurements alongside 100% inspection of all parts. Using the specialist blade inspection module, aerofoil features can be analysed. 

  • Profile Mean Lines
  • Profile Centroid
  • Profile Twist
  • Flow inlet/exit angles
  • Chord Line (Bitangential, Axial, Max)
  • Stagger Angles
  • Camber angles
  • Blade pitch
  • Throat area/sectional distances

ATS4Related blade inspection:

  • Inspection of ceramic cores
  • Inspection of wax models
  • Analysis of shrinkage and warp
  • Optimization of injection molds/processes
  • Control of cooling tunnel systems (EMP)
  • Shape and dimension analysis of cast and forged components

We can offer:

  • Parametric Inspection
  • 2D section/Curve analysis
  • Batch Inspection
  • Trend Analysis




Reverse Engineering

We have completed a recent turbine blade reverse engineering project for a client - read more here.

Digital Assembly & Aerodynamic Testing

See also our computer aided engineering section >>

Full aero surfaces are vital for scale-model wind tunnel testing, CFD model creation, symmetry checks and finite element methods, ensuring that computer simulations are valid. 

Measuring the entire aircraft within one coordinate system also supports digital assembly. Capturing various positions of the movable control surfaces is essential to performing motion studies. Time-effective data acquisition results in cost-effective, fast and easy integration into downstream processing requirements.

3D scanning verifies the "as-built" compared to the "as-designed" shape of scale models in wind tunnel testing to ensure that scaling does not cause deviations. In addition, GOM's Tritop system can be used to measure static deflection caused by loading in the wind tunnel. This makes it possible to analyse wing behaviour at specific speeds and in different flight manoeuvres.

Aircraft & Airframe


Airframe Inspection

Key dimensions and additional information can be gathered and inspected from scan data in order to build up a comprehensive understanding of an aircraft. Parameters and tolerances can be set with a pass/fail system in place for key safety aspects. All this information can be generated directly from the scanned aircraft which can dramatically reduce the time to manually inspect each component. 


Airframe examination:

  • Wing/Stabilizer dihedral angle
  • Wing/Stabilizer incidence angle
  • Verticality of fins
  • Symmetry checks
  • Engine alignments
  • Vortex generators/other aero parts

Wing Analysis:

  • Mean Chord Line
  • Profile Centroid
  • Leading/Trailing edge sizes
  • Profile edge points
  • Maximum Thickness


Dynamic Inspection:

  • Maximum/Minimum Control deflection
  • Canard/Vectoring deflection
  • Flap/Slat Positions
  • Airbrakes

Dent & Buckle Reports

ATS11Due to the accuracy and detail of the system it is possible to carry out airframe assessments and create dent and buckle reports. A reference model is created either from a newly delivered aircraft or a previous scan of the airframe. The scans are then overlaid to show any deviations and can be shown as a colour deviation plot. Tolerances can be set and a pass/fail report generated. The location numbering system is used and stored in the reference model so that locating the issue on the aircraft does not require any change of operating procedure for technicians. Any damage can easily be identified, reported and documented in the same way as traditional methods.

An advantage of scanning the entire aircraft is to gain a much better understanding of the complete airframe. Issues such as twisting can be hard to identify with a localised visual inspection of the airframe by an engineer. Damage may also be located along stress paths which may not have been linked to the original damage. 

FOD and Bird strikes

3D scanning offers the ability to assess and document the incidence of FOD or bird strikes, by scanning a localised area of the airframe while on site. This is then aligned to the reference model in order to assess the severity of damage. Information is sent back to the manufacturers or operators, in order to document the damage and make recommendations for repair.

This application may include theatre-related incidents including damage inflicted by munitions. Again, localised scanning of the affected area can be carried out anywhere in the world and the data sent back to the operator or manufacturer.

ATS12Repair Verification

Once a full reference model has been compiled it is possible to conduct a localised scan on the area affected by any repair. This enables the operator to prove the repair has been carried out to a high standard and mitigate any risk.

Scanning may also demonstrate that the damage is not confined to the area first identified by the visual inspection and highlight any additional repairs that are needed to ensure the integrity of the airframe.


ATS13Accident Investigation 

3D scanning can be used to document and investigate aerospace incidents using a combination of large scale scanning to create a 3D digital scene along with high resolution images to enable investigation to continue after the debris is removed from the scene. 

Scanning of components can be used to rebuild the airframe digitally after an accident has occurred. This process was used by NASA after the Columbia space shuttle disaster, where 3D scanning enabled investigators to piece together the evidence and determine the cause of the accident. 


Deformation Measurement - High stress areas  

Areas and components which undergo high stress and loading can be inspected either on or off the aircraft; inspection can be carried out in several ways:

  • Using the scanned reference model
  • Using manufacturer’s CAD if available
  • Reverse engineering CAD from scan data
  • Reverse engineering from drawings
  • Using geometrical primitives

Component Integration

Hardware upgrades and equipment retrofitting can be time-consuming on any aircraft - especially when no CAD data is available. For this reason, 3D scanning is perfectly suited to the data capture of space and volume in order to design systems to integrate with existing components.

The scanned data as the native .STL polygon mesh can be imported into most CAD systems for use as a design boundary. Alternatively all scan data can be reverse engineered into CAD models for ease of use.


Turbo & Impellors

Physical Digital is able to offer quality inspection and reverse engineering for turbo components, turbines and volutes


Internal part geometry is captured using the GOM system and CT scanner.


Reverse engineered Turbo volute and compressor turbine from CT and GOM scan data



For further details about any of our projects or to discuss your aero and turbine requirements, call our expert team on 01483 750200.

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