Lufthansa Technik uses multi-physics simulation to predict aircraft engine wear

Ansys software makes condition-based maintenance of jet turbines more reliable by adding a predictive element.

Lufthansa Technik AG, one of the world’s largest providers of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) support services for aircraft, uses Ansys simulation software to simulate wear and tear of aircraft components, particularly in jet engines, to prolong service intervals and to create new ways to repair used parts.

As an aviation authority-approved development and production organization, Lufthansa Technik performs its own research to investigate jet engine blade damage, whether it be due to bird strike or gradual erosion resulting from particles in the air. Running simulations allows the company to gain insights on wear, optimize the timing for parts replacement and develop new repair methods. Lufthansa Technik uses structural mechanics and fluid dynamics programs to perform, among other applications, studies on structural and thermal loads on different engine modules for several engine types.

“By researching wear of turbine blades, we are helping our customers to increase engine service life. Using innovative repair methods that we develop, these same customers can possibly avoid purchasing expensive new parts. For an airline, this is money in the bank,” said Christian Werner-Spatz at Lufthansa Technik AG. “Multiphysics simulation software from Ansys allows us to understand the operating environment of jet engine components and draw conclusions from these results with a high degree of confidence.”

Unlike most users of Ansys software, Lufthansa Technik AG does not use simulation to develop completely new products, but to increase service life for aircraft turbines. Known as condition-based maintenance, running simulations and developing a deeper understanding of asset lifecycles are becoming more important as airlines struggle to control costs.

The Lufthansa Technik Group, with more than 30 subsidiaries and about 26,000 employees worldwide, is one of the leading manufacturer-independent providers of services for the aviation industry. In 2010, the Group’s overall revenues stood at over €4 billion. Lufthansa Technik is licensed internationally as a repair, production and development enterprise. The Group’s portfolio encompasses the entire spectrum of services in the areas of maintenance, repair, overhaul, modification and conversion, engines and components.