Helicopter machinery refurb contract for Rhodes Interform 03 September 2019

Bespoke composite and metal forming machinery specialist Rhodes Interform has been awarded a contract to refurbish equipment used in the manufacture of composite helicopter rotor blades, including six hot platen presses, up to 10m long.

The cylinder’s hydraulic seals on the platen presses have become worn, which is affecting the performance of the equipment. The machines are used to manufacture tail rotor and main rotor blades for emergency air/sea rescue and civil helicopters.

The contract will see Rhodes Interform supply and re-fit all the main hydraulic seals for 30-cylinder assemblies, along with carrying out a complete overhaul of the six Oilgear-Towler hydraulic power units. These units have signs of internal leakage, which was shown by reduced press speeds and pressures. Furthermore, all valves and pumps will require stripping down, re-sealing and re-setting.

The firm says that, following refurbishment, the presses will be easier to maintain and more accurate in operation.

Peter Anderton, technical director at Rhodes Interform, explains: “The fact that these presses have performed well for 35 years is testament to the quality of their manufacture. We will utilise the skills of our production and technical teams to ensure all equipment replaced is to the highest standard and expect the customer to benefit from major production efficiencies as a result of this.”

Rhodes Interform’s team of technical engineers will take each press individually out of production over a three-week period, in order to minimise downtime.

Adam Offord

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