Induction brazing of air conditioning systems
What have Augusta of Italy, Stork Fokker of the Netherlands and Eurocopter of France and Germany in common? NHIndustries, the joint venture that makes the revolutionary NH90 helicopter. And guess which heating technology they insist upon for the helicopter’s air conditioning assembly?
There’s never been anything like the NH90 helicopter project. The largest initiative of its kind in European history, the project brought together four national governments in an effort to design, make and sell one of the world’s most advanced flying machines. The results have been dramatic. Since production was green-lighted in 2000, NHIndustries has received firm orders for 357 machines, and options for a further 86. Obviously, the NH90 is a prestigious project for any sub-contractor, even one as experienced as David Hart Aerospace Pipes (DHAP), of Salisbury, in southern England. An approved supplier for customers such as BAE, irbus and Raytheon, DHAP is responsible for the air-conditioning unit assembly for the NH90------a process for which they use an EFD Induction Minac induction heater.
Comments DHAP Managing Director Simon Dootson: ‘‘This is actually the first time we’ve performed induction brazing. But we’re extremely pleased with the results. More importantly, so is our customer. Induction delivers the controllability and process repeatability demanded for this project.’’
Since its foundation in 1999, DHAP has won a reputation for its specialist welding, brazing, soldering and fabrication capabilities. The customer list has grown too, and now includes Formula One racing teams as well as aircraft manufacturers. Continues Dootson: ‘‘Obviously, having the kind of customers we do, product safety is top of the agenda. That’s why we have rigorous quality control and testing; something our induction brazing has passed successfully.’’ Certified to ISO 9001:2000, DHAP boasts pressure testing to 18,000 psi, and level-two NDT penetrant flaw detection. Leak testing on the Minac-brazed air conditioning units is carried out in nitrogen gas at 45 bar. Says Dootson in conclusion: ‘‘Induction has certainly speeded up the brazing process, but without compromising quality and safety standards. It’s enabled us to contribute to the NH90 project, something all of us here are proud of.’’