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April 9, 2021

Motion Amplification® for the Aerospace and Defense Industries

Jenna Johns

Airplanes and other vehicles produced by the aerospace and defense industries demand the most stringent testing measures and evaluation to ensure not only their safety but also their operating superiority. Still, the engines within such vehicles can be subjected to the same matters of wear and tear and various mechanical faults associated with vibration, which can affect performance and reliability.

Engines and Mechanical Structure

Among high-performance engines, evaluating vibration distribution and identifying displacement are necessary steps. As with any engine, maintaining engine balance involving the various rotating and reciprocating components is necessary to prevent vibration. By visualizing an engine’s movement using RDI’s Motion Amplification® technology, dynamic tuning and other measures can be taken to correct engine balance.

An aircraft’s mechanical structure and body, or airframe, can also be prone to developing micro cracks, which are tiny cracks that require magnification to detect. Such small cracks can indicate material failure and risk for developing larger, more significant cracks or failures. Using motion enhancement techniques, micro cracking and degradation along the airframe can be better assessed by evaluating stress points along the plane’s body.

Throughout the aerospace industry, jet engine vibration is a ubiquitous problem, as maintenance crews must monitor engine vibration to check for safety and efficient performance. Engine vibration results from the culmination of moving parts within an engine. By visualizing vibrations using video Motion Amplification®, the extent and magnitude of vibration can be correlated with specific engine components.

Vibration issues in aircraft operation are widely present but can be challenging to monitor, however. As with other vehicles, vibration either can’t be felt or is so common that pilots are accustomed to its ever-present feel. Vibration can, however, cause problems such as periodic instrument failure, fatigue cracks and panel vibration, improper compass functioning, and other causes for concern.

The U.S. Air Force Relies on RDI

The United States Air Force has already employed RDI’s video Motion Amplification® technology to carry out and assess predictive maintenance for equipment. The 76th Maintenance Support Group’s Industrial Engineering shop at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex uses a Motion Amplification® camera and accompanying software to maintain and inspect equipment.

The Airforce unit even used RDI’s motion enhancement technology to inspect and evaluate faulty vacuum pumps and water pumps, finding that loose mounting bolts and a cracked concrete base were causing issues. Such action enabled cost-saving preventive maintenance. Technicians can further use Motion Amplification® vibration analysis during jet engine testing and to evaluate aircraft wings’ flex performance.

And since jet engines are no small machines, using a contactless vibration analysis method increases safety and permits analysis without touching or interfering with machinery’s operation.

Monitoring Helicopter Vibration

Aerospace technology includes much more than jet engines. Helicopters too are prone to vibration, even more so than jet-engine airplanes. Unusual vibration as a helicopter operates can cause loose hardware, worn bearings, and unequally distributed mass among the rotor blades.

Motion Amplification® vibration analysis can look at an entire helicopter’s structure and measure amplitude to gauge severity, among many other ways of use. Rotorcraft ground testing can be performed to visualize the entire aircraft and any displaced components.

While the aerospace and defense industries prioritize safety, performance, and reliability of their technologies, so many other industries and manufacturers employ RDI’s Motion Amplification® software to evaluate, solve, and prevent problems and faults within their facilities and equipment.

What can Motion Amplification® software do for your industry? We invite you to learn more and to get in contact to find out more about our products and services and to request a demo.

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Motion Amplification® can be key to most any reliability program. Here’s a sampling of some of the ways in our eBook: How Motion Amplification® Fits into a Reliability Program [Link to premium content offering]

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