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1. (WO2019025779) INSPECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR TURBINE VANES AND BLADES
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CLAIMS:

1. A turbine blade or vane inspection apparatus comprising:

a mounting for holding a turbine blade or vane;

a source of illumination;

a camera;

a controller;

wherein at least two of the source of illumination, the camera, and the mounting are moveable components;

and,

wherein the controller is configured to:

control the movable components to (a) position the turbine blade or vane mounted thereon relative to the illumination source so as to provide a contrast of illumination between a feature of the turbine blade or vane and an adjacent surface of the turbine blade or vane and (b) position the camera so that the optical axis of the camera is directed towards the feature; and

determine a dimension and/or shape of the feature based on an image obtained by the camera.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the illumination source comprises a fibre optic light source.

3. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the illumination source comprises an illumination probe and the controller is configured to control the movable components to position the turbine blade or vane so that the illumination probe enters an internal passage of the turbine blade or vane and radiation from the illumination probe shines out from the internal passage through one or more cooling holes in the turbine blade or vane.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the controller is configured to control the moveable components so that the optical axis of the camera is aligned with a centreline of one of the one or more cooling holes.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the controller is configured to determine a circumference size and/or shape of the cooling hole at or proximal to the location where the cooling hole joins the internal passage.

6. The apparatus of any of claims 3 to 5 wherein the controller is configured to determine a definitive edge of a profile of the cooling hole(s) based on the change of contrast in the image caused by light illuminated from the illumination probe.

7. The apparatus of any of claims 3 to 6 wherein the apparatus is configured for the camera to receive the radiation from the illumination probe after the radiation has passed through the cooling hole(s).

8. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the controller is further configured to control the moveable components to (a) position the turbine blade or vane so that the illumination source illuminates a coated surface of the blade or vane, and (b) to position the camera so that the optical axis of the camera is directed towards the illuminated surface, and wherein the controller is further configured to determine an acceptable or unacceptable thickness of coating based on radiation reflected from the illuminated surface.

9. The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein the controller is configured to determine an acceptable or unacceptable thickness of coating based on a predetermined relationship between the amount of coating applied and corresponding amount of radiation reflected from the illuminated surface.

10. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the feature of the turbine blade or vane is a slot or opening in the adjacent surface of the blade or vane, and the controller is configured to control the moveable components to (a) position the turbine blade or vane so that the illumination source illuminates the surface, and (b) to position the camera so that the optical axis of the camera is directed towards the slot or opening, and wherein the controller is further configured to determine the shape of the opening based on the image obtained by the camera.

1 1. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein:

the mounting comprises a datum point and the controller determines the position of the mounting based on the position of the datum point;

the controller comprises memory that stores coordinate positions of features of the blade or vane with respect to the datum point; and

the controller is configured to move any of the camera, mounting, and illumination source based on the position of the mounting and stored coordinate positions.

12. A method for inspecting a turbine blade or vane, the method comprising the steps of:

controlling moveable components being at least two of a mounting for holding a turbine blade or vane, a camera, and an illumination source, to position the turbine blade or vane relative to the illumination source so as to provide a contrast of

illumination between a feature of the turbine blade or vane and an adjacent surface of the blade or vane;

controlling the moveable components so that the optical axis of the camera is directed towards the feature; and

determining a dimension and/or shape of the feature based on an image obtained by the camera.

13. The method according to claim 12 wherein the illumination source comprises a fibre optic light source.

14. The method according to claim 12 wherein the illumination source comprises an illumination probe; and further comprising the step of controlling the movable components to position the turbine blade or vane so that the illumination probe enters an internal passage of the turbine blade or vane and radiation from the illumination probe shines out from the internal passage through one or more cooling holes in the turbine blade or vane.

15. The method according to any of claims claim 12 to 14 further comprising the step of positioning the movable components so that the optical axis of the camera is aligned with a centreline of one of the one or more cooling holes.

16. The method according to any of claims 12 to 14 further comprising the step of determining a definitive edge of a profile of the cooling hole(s) based on the change of contrast in the image caused by light illuminated from the illumination probe.

17. The method according to claim 16 further comprising the step of postprocessing the image using imaging software installed on a computing device to

determine the definitive edge and use data associated with the definitive edge to determine the dimension and/or shape of the cooling hole(s).

18. The method according to claim 17 further comprising the step of comparing the dimension and/or shape with a predetermined tolerance range in order to determine if the dimension and/or shape is acceptable or unacceptable.

19. The method according to any of claims 12 to 18 further comprising the step of receiving the radiation from the illumination probe after the radiation has passed through the cooling hole(s).

20. A system for inspecting a turbine blade or vane, the system comprising:

a computer terminal having installed software that post-processes images to determine a dimension and/or shape of a feature based on a contrast of illumination between a feature of the turbine blade or vane and an adjacent surface of the blade or vane; and

one or more robots for controllably moving at least one of a camera, a mounting for holding a turbine vane or blade, and an illumination source.

21. The system according to claim 20 wherein the one or more robots comprises a camera robot for controllably moving a camera, and a component support robot for controllably moving the mounting.

22. The system according to claim 20 or claim 21 wherein the robots are controlled by the computer terminal, or a further secondary computer terminal utilising robot software.

23. The system according to any of claims 20 to 22 wherein the one or more robots are configured to move the at least one of the camera, the mounting for holding the turbine vane or blade, and an illumination source, by reference to stored coordinates positions of features on the turbine blade or vane with respect to a measurable datum point on the mounting.

24. A turbine blade or vane coating inspection apparatus comprising:

a mounting for holding a turbine blade or vane;

a source of illumination for illuminating a coated surface of the turbine blade or vane;

a camera; and

a controller,

wherein at least one of the mounting, the source of illumination and the camera is controllably moveable, and

wherein the controller is configured to:

control movement of one or more of the mounting, the source of illumination and the camera so that the optical axis of the camera is directed towards the coated surface of the turbine blade or vane in a predetermined direction; and

determine an acceptable or unacceptable thickness of coating based on: radiation reflected from the illuminated surface as determined from an image obtained by the camera; and

a predetermined relationship between the amount of coating applied and corresponding amount of radiation reflected from the illuminated surface.

25. The apparatus according to claim 24 configured to determine a coating thickness percentage value for each pixel in the image by determining a pixel brightness value and comparing the pixel brightness value with stored coating percentage values using the predetermined relationship.

26. The apparatus according to claim 24 or 25 configured to be trained to differentiate between coatings based on stored coating image profiles determined from images of samples having acceptable and unacceptable coating levels.