Russian Helicopters Explores Digital Production with Ka-226T and Mi-171A2

By S.L. Fuller | December 4, 2017
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Russian Ka-226T

Russian Ka-226T. Photo courtesy of Russian Helicopters

Russian Helicopters is using the Ka-226T as a pilot project. The manufacturer said it’s testing the use of digital production to simplify the development of modifications and modernization at customers’ requests. In parallel, Russian Helicopters said it plans to launch a production line, using digital methods, for the Mi-171A2.

"The Ka-226T project is the first experience of the [company’s] enterprises in creating a new helicopter modification using exclusive software,” said Andrei Boginsky, general director of Russian Helicopters. "Digitalization has reduced the time for the development of the machine, and through the creation of 3-D models, to improve the accuracy of the helicopter assemblies and assemblies.”


Kamov, the helicopter’s designer, prepared a complete package of design documentation including digital models of parts and assemblies, as well as three-dimensional models of finished helicopters, Russian Helicopters said. The design bureau and serial production at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant have received a single information system that could facilitate online communication. This, the manufacturer said, gives the company 24/7 access to current design documentation, as well as the opportunity to communicate with the developer to discuss the models in connection with the specifics of production. In the future, Russian Helicopters said a unified system would allow all project participants to monitor and control the production of helicopters at each stage.

According to the manufacturer, departments at the plant have already analyzed and developed the sketch electronic design documentation for three airframe sections. Draft directive technological materials have also been prepared.

Ka-226T assembly, as well as assembly of new equipment, would involve the use of laser technology, Russian Helicopters said. A laser tracker would be used “in accordance with the mathematical model.” The manufacturer said it hopes the use of modern machine tools with digital program control would minimize the manual labor associated with fitting the parts. The plant is currently preparing the production site for assembling the Ka-226T fuselages.The Ulan-Ude plant is also completing the first stage production modernization to allow for the parallel builds of both the Ka-226T and Mi-171A2.

"The main criterion for selecting the U-UAZ site for creating a backup production of the Ka-226T was the experience of the enterprise for the production of helicopters with a coaxial rotor-Ka-25 scheme,” Boginsky said. “In addition, using the example of the Mi-171A2, the plant has already mastered the production of a new generation of equipment using the electronic modeling of the design and organization of digital production.”

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