Innovations in Advanced Components


Consolidated Tooling Approaches – Case Study: CH-53K Bleed Ducts

Padden Design Engineering (PaddenDE) was tasked with designing weld fixtures for various tubular components for Welding Metallurgy, Inc (WMI) in support of their contract on Sikorsky’s CH-53K program. With over 19 components to weld and assemble in a condensed delivery schedule, it was imperative to come up with a tooling approach that met the cost, schedule and technical requirements of the program.

The engineering team at PaddenDE chose a modular tooling approach to make the weld fixtures for assembling the insulated bleed duct components. This tooling concept assigned several tube assemblies on common base plates, reducing the number from over 19 weld fixtures down to 5, saving on cost and schedule.

In order to accomplish this consolidation, the tube assemblies were analyzed in CATIA V5 to match like shaped ducts on a common tool base plate. The base plates were complete with engraved locations for each stand and banking plate and tooling parts list to aid in the setup of the fixtures. The detail parts and base plates were CNC machined directly from the CAD models which reduced the chance for errors and provided a low risk approach. The tools were verified by CMM and served as check fixtures for quality assurance.

To store and protect the weld fixtures, the PaddenDE team designed storage boxes that were CNC machined to accept the over 100 tooling details and 5 base plates which provided the customer with a complete tooling package. Padden Design Engineering formed a design-build team with local tooling shops in Stuart, FL to manage risks to the schedule and successfully complete the weld fixtures on time and on budget for WMI.