March 18 , 2009
Metal Improvement Company Opens Laser Peening Facility in Europe
Paramus, NJ, March 18 — Metal Improvement Company (MIC) has opened its first European-based laser peening production facility in Earby, Lancashire, U.K.
The state-of-the-art production facility is only the second-of-its-kind in the world to offer this unique technology for use on turbine engine components for commercial aircraft. It is approved to ISO 9001:2000 with two laser peening systems in operation that are processing turbofan engine parts on a regular basis.
“We chose the Earby location for this facility because of its proximity to key accounts as well as premium science and testing establishments,” said Peter O’Hara, Vice President of European Sales and Marketing for MIC. The facility currently employs 30 people and was established to support the emerging European market for laser peening.
MIC’s initial laser peening production facility commenced operations in May of 2002 in Livermore, CA, USA, to capitalize on the laser expertise of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The MIC Livermore facility was the first in the world to utilize laser peening technology in production on turbine engine components of commercial aircraft. The facility is a Federal Aviation Administration approved repair station (MPKR633X) for specialized laser peening services and also a Joint Aviation Authorities approved JAR-145 repair station (JAA.5573).
Both MIC facilities are using a LLNL designed Neodymium:glass slab laser to generate a one million psi pressure pulse on the surface of critical turbine engine metal components. The laser can fire five pulses per second. The repeated pressure pulses create shockwaves that travel through the metal and impart a layer of beneficial compressive stress to the surface that is four times deeper than that attainable from conventional peening treatments. This compressive stress increases the component’s resistance to failure mechanisms such as fatigue, fretting fatigue and stress corrosion, which translates to increased component life and reduced maintenance costs.
Laser peening enables component designers and manufacturers to more easily strengthen metal components where they are structurally vulnerable without having to add metal and the associated weight to the entire structure. The result is additional strength without additional weight, which is particularly important in aerospace and automotive components as well as medical implant applications. Other projected future uses for laser peening include components used in nuclear power generation, petrochemical and oil and gas industry applications.
Metal Improvement Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE: CW, CW.B), provides precision metal treatment services that include shot and laser peening, peen forming, heat treating and coating services. The company operates over 50 facilities in North America and Europe.
Curtiss-Wright Corporation, headquartered in Roseland, NJ, is a diversified company that designs, manufactures and overhauls products for motion control and flow control applications in addition to providing metal treatment services. For more information about Curtiss-Wright visit www.curtisswright.com