Second Shift, Infrastructure Additions

October 1, 2012

Test Devices made recent improvements in its infrastructure and staffing levels to support the increased demand from manufacturers requiring production pre-spin services.

The company now offers second-shift operations and an expanded machine shop for processing larger quantities of production parts that require spin and balance procedures. The changes represent a work force increase as well as the addition of a CMM machine and machining equipment. In addition, one of the machines in the company’s testing facility is now dedicated exclusively to production pre-spin testing. The changes were driven by increased business with a variety of customers in the engine and turbo-machinery industries.

When these materials are used for rotor disks, many OEMs find a pre-spinning operation to be valuable to “pre-grow” the component and condition the metal. This is typically done after forging and before final machining by spinning it slightly above operational speeds and carefully validating the required growth related to the centrifugal loads.

Continuous improvement can also be seen in Test Devices’ staff restructuring. “This reorganization helps to optimize employee skill sets to better serve our production customers,” Rob Murner said. “We’ve invested in equipment and developed processes to meet and surpass client expectations, which allows TDI to help clients compress their supply chains, save money and meet their production schedules.”

The company is adding an electric motor drive system to the fleet of interchangeable air turbines currently used. “This will allow our shop to have greener operations and save electricity costs, which we can share with our customers through lower cycle costs,” Bill Hale, Vice President of
Operations, said.

Test Devices is also investing in the advancement of complex R&D test methods for rotating components. Later this year, the company will validate an enhancement to its existing Aerodynamic Pulse Generation (APG) technique used for blade excitation (HCF). “Our goal is to continue to advance the state of the art in test method development for HCF, including an eventual solution to provide OEMs with an effective technique to replicate high order resonance modes in high temperature conditions,” Murner said.

Gas turbine OEMs and component manufacturers use Test Devices’ equipment, testing services and resulting data to improve the accuracy of their lifing models, reduce the risk of failures, shorten testing programs, and lower the cost to bring new designs, materials or upgrades to market. In each of these situations, demanding OEMs turn to Test Devices as one of the few companies in the world that has the ability to conduct these tests to exacting specifications.

“We’ve made these technological advances in response to industry trends wherein gas turbine engines are exposed to hotter, harsher and more demanding environments.” Murner said. “We also recognize the importance of developing test methods for customers wanting realistic testing done on time and in as cost-effective a manner as possible.”