A virtual inspection framework for precision manufacturing of aerofoil components

Jonathan E. Makem, Hengan Ou, Cecil G. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
575 Downloads (Pure)


The finite element method plays an extremely important role in forging process design as it provides a valid means to quantify forging errors and thereby govern die shape modification to improve the dimensional accuracy of the component. However, this dependency on process simulation could raise significant problems and present a major drawback if the finite element simulation results were inaccurate. This paper presents a novel approach to assess the dimensional accuracy and shape quality of aeroengine blades formed from finite element hot-forging simulation. The proposed virtual inspection system uses conventional algorithms adopted by modern coordinate measurement processes as well as the latest free-form surface evaluation techniques to provide a robust framework for virtual forging error assessment. Established techniques for the physical registration of real components have been adapted to localise virtual models in relation to a nominal Design Coordinate System. Blades are then automatically analysed using a series of intelligent routines to generate measurement data and compute dimensional errors. The results of a comparison study indicate that the virtual inspection results and actual coordinate measurement data are highly comparable, validating the approach as an effective and accurate means to quantify forging error in a virtual environment. Consequently, this provides adequate justification for the implementation of the virtual inspection system in the virtual process design, modelling and validation of forged aeroengine blades in industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858–874
Number of pages17
JournalComputer-Aided Design
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Virtual inspection
  • Finite element modelling
  • Coordinate measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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