AgustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer owned by Italy's Finmeccanica, is a total capability provider in the vertical lift market. Through its rotorcraft systems design, development, production and integration capabilities, the company delivers unrivalled mission capability to military and commercial operators around the world.
This expertise, backed by technological excellence and innovation, makes the company a leader in a number of the world’s most important helicopter markets, offering the widest range of advanced rotorcraft available for both commercial and military applications.
The merger of the Agusta and Westland helicopter manufacturing companies, each with histories dating back to the formative days of aviation manufacturing, created the new AgustaWestland company.
The pedigree of both Agusta and Westland in helicopter manufacturing dates back to the 1950s, when strategic decisions were made by both companies to move into rotary wing aircraft production.
Agusta and Westland first collaborated in the 1960s, when Westland started licence production of the Agusta AB47G, better known as the 'Sioux'. The relationship between Agusta and Westland evolved for more than 20 years through collaboration on the development and production of the 16-ton multi-role EH101 (now known as AW101).
Dynamic Composite Components (DCC) Centre of Excellence (CoE) Yeovil, designs and manufactures technologically advanced composite rotor blades and dynamic components. The Yeovil CoE provides through-life capability and support to the aircraft using its design, manufacture and repair/overhaul facility. The team of designers and engineers works on both new and legacy products to continually improve the manufacturing and design process.
In line with the AgustaWestland strategy of pursuing technological excellence in both design and manufacture, DCC embarked on an evaluation process to examine the benefits of transferring from its current film and chemical radiographic system over to a computed radiography system.
Over a two-year period, an in-depth evaluation was carried out with three different systems. The result of this evaluation concluded that the best solution for the AgustaWestland Yeovil facility was the Fujifilm DynamIx HR system. The Dynamix system is a high-definition computed radiography (CR) system that meets market needs for defect detection using high-definition, high-quality inspection images of the inspection target. The images recorded onto the newly-developed high-definition UR-1 imaging plate can be read at a density of 50 micron, double the previous reading density, and displayed onto PC monitors supporting high-resolution images.
The evaluation considered a number of different criteria that AgustaWestland required to be met.
These included, as a minimum:
- The system must produce a graphic unsharpness of less than 0.25 mm.
- Radiographic sensitivity of better than 2%.
- Software compatibility and ease of use.
- Speed of system.
- Power consumption.
- Archiving and retrieval of images.
- Image plate usage (10,000 times).
- Environmental benefits.
These systems are based on the 50-micron readers and provide high-resolution images, which can be interpreted at any one of five client workstations based in the department, prior to archiving.
The network capability of the DynamIx software provided the linchpin in data storage and retrieval required by the DCC team for the large quantity of images produced daily by the department.