A two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Loughborough University allowed SCITEK Consultants Ltd to develop a solution to an emerging challenge within the aerospace industry.

The company – which provides advanced engineering R&D services to a range of sectors – identified an opportunity in gas turbine monitoring.

The introduction of lightweight composite components has made obsolete conventional tip timing and clearance sensors that rely on the blades’ metallic properties.

The solution

SCITEK’s solution was to develop and manufacture novel optical sensors capable of monitoring both parameters – tip timing and clearance – but needed to complement its technical expertise to take this forward.

Loughborough’s Optical Engineering Research Group (OERG) is the largest UK group specialising in this technology, and many of its innovative techniques are now used world-wide.

During the KTP, experts from OERG worked with SCITEK to produce a prototype optical sensor capable of measuring both tip timing and tip clearance.

The benefits

The close-to-market, functional prototype has stimulated demand for the new technology with customers in the UK, Germany and China.

This success has enhanced the company’s reputation, and they forecast a rise in annual turnover within three years, largely as a result of increased exports.

The KTP also allowed SCITEK to embed new knowledge within its engineering team for future application and has continued to work with the University.