10,000 Processed Vanes!
Surface Enhancement Technologies LLC, part of the Lambda Technologies Group, recently applied Low Plasticity Burnishing (LPB®) to its 10,000th first stage vane for the F402 Pegasus engine. Lambda has been working steadily to keep the American and allied military fleets of AV-8B Harriers supplied with upgraded vanes. NAVAIR opted for an LPB solution to eliminate failure from foreign object damage (FOD) that was costing millions in maintenance and endangering flight crews.
"We are very proud of the work we have done with NAVAIR," says Lambda’s Vice-President, Kim Bellamy. "Knowing that our technology is both protecting our military personnel and helping to address budget issues is doubly rewarding."
Lambda designed a compressive residual stress distribution for a highly stressed portion of the trailing edge of the vane. The resulting increase in FOD tolerance has improved the service life to 20 times that of an unprocessed vane. Damage tolerance increased from less than 0.1 mm deep FOD to over 1.3 mm, with a fatigue strength equal to an undamaged blade. The larger damage tolerance with LPB simplifies inspection and reduces the number of vane replacements, lowering maintenance costs, and increasing both fleet readiness and safety.
LPB is a patented, proven surface treatment that provides a deep layer of compressive residual stress to mitigate fretting, stress corrosion cracking, and foreign object damage in the fatigue critical areas of metallic components. LPB delivers significant fatigue life extension with minimal initial capital investment and low production costs without changing either the material or component design.
"10,000 vanes is a major mile marker for us," says Paul Prevéy, CEO of Lambda. "This program shows how the right combination of innovation and determination can solve difficult problems. This continuing success demonstrates that LPB can be implemented effectively and efficiently to provide economical solutions to extending aircraft life for improved performance and safety."
Not a single LPB treated vane has failed in service since production began, confirming Lambda’s original fatigue design predictions. With NAVAIR’s recent purchase of the Harrier fleet from England, this program will be more important than ever. LPB’s ability to eliminate FOD-related failure will keep these aircraft running safely as long as they are needed.
Military aircraft are being required to stay in service for much longer than their initial design life. The cost of repair, inspection, and replacement of critical parts is rising dramatically, and the need to keep planes in service is growing. With LPB, the damage tolerance of engine components is greatly improved, increasing time in service while reducing inspection and maintenance costs.
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