Rhodes Interform, a specialist in bespoke composite and metal forming machinery and part of Group Rhodes, based in the UK, has been awarded a contract to refurbish equipment used in the manufacture of composite helicopter rotor blades. This includes six hot platen presses, up to 10m long, which were originally built by John Shaw, now part of Group Rhodes.
The cylinder’s hydraulic seals on the platen presses were becoming worn, which was 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 had signs of internal leakage, which was shown by reduced press speeds and pressures. All valves and pumps will require stripping down, re-sealing and re-setting. Following refurbishment, the presses will be easier to maintain and more accurate in operation. 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.
Peter Anderton, Technical Director at Rhodes Interform, said: “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.”
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