Every step requires the same level of coordination as passing the baton in a relay race: Jack up the straddle carrier with the engine. Pass the bolts of the engine mounting through the openings in the thrust measuring bridge. Hook up the multicoupling system, which allows not only the engine measuring points and test cell measurement system, but also the control and supply lines, to be connected with a single click. All the technicians have to do now is mount the air duct—which thanks to the new quick lock takes a matter of minutes. Then the bellmouth clicks into place like a lens on a camera. While testing gets underway inside, the technicians in the pre-rigging room are getting the next engine ready. And next door, they are packing up the engine that has just come off the test cell.
The processes are tuned for speed. Test cell capacities are precious, and the program volume at MTU Aero Engines in Munich is high: once the Pure Power® PW1100G-JM engine assembly is completely ramped up at the site by the end of 2018, almost one A320neo engine a day will undergo production acceptance testing on test cell 3.
“Acceptance tests are mandatory for all production engines,” explains Kurt Scheidt, who heads up MTU’s engine testing in Munich: without proven performance parameters, no engine will be issued an airworthiness certificate. And that depends on the measurement data produced in an acceptance test run.