Effectively Measure Rotor Blades for Helicopters AgustaWestland reduces measurement time by 50 percent

Traffic observation, mountain rescues, transportation, and military missions on land and at sea: helicopters are the workhorse of the air. The power of their rotors is the primary source of their capabilities.

How AgustaWestland succeeds with ZEISS Solutions:
  • Reduction of measuring cycle time by 50%

Effectively Measure Rotor Blades for Helicopters

The situation

A helicopter engine must keep tons of weight in the air. Elastic compound materials and the optimal aerodynamic shape of the rotors play a key role here. However, modern rotors also reduce noise and help lower fuel consumption. Their profiles and surfaces are perfect examples of curve and freeform surface measurement. Compliance with geometric tolerances ensures that the rotors always generate optimum lift at different speeds.

The challenge

The AgustaWestland production facility in Anagni, Italy, has been measuring rotor blades for helicopters with an SMM-MT horizontal-arm measuring machine from ZEISS for more than 20 years. In 2008, AgustaWestland ordered a PRO T horizontal-arm measuring machine from Carl Zeiss equipped with a VAST XXT TL2 scanning probe on the RDS stepping articulating probe holder with CAA (Computer Aided Accuracy) and CAD-based CALYPSO measuring software featuring the Curve option. This total solution will replace the SMM-MT.


The installation of the new measuring machine was a revolution for the company. In the past, the rotor blade was positioned on its leading edge. The new measuring process with PRO allows the technicians to place the rotor blade on its underside. Although this meant abandoning a 20-year-old measuring method, the transition delivered many benefits. Thanks to a special clamping system, two rotor blades can be positioned above each other and measured in one run. This new arrangement facilitates the measurement of the entire aerodynamic profile with the underside, leading edge and top of the rotor blade. Furthermore, the company switched to the VAST XXT scanning probe on RDS. 

About AgustaWestland

AgustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter company owned by Italy's Finmeccanica, is a total capability provider in the vertical lift market. With its rotorcraft systems design, development, production and integration capabilities, its experience in the training business and its customer-focused Integrated Operational Support solutions, the company delivers unrivalled mission capability to military and commercial operators around the world. This expertise enables the company to provide military and civilian users around the globe with first-class assistance for their missions.