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Hartzell Introduces Next Generation Propeller Manufacturing Technology

Date: June 26, 2002 Category: Press Releases
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Comprehensive New Blade Manufacturing Process Represents the Industry’s First Major Technology Leap Since the Early 1980’S

Hartzell’s new manufacturing process is a generation leap in technology, reducing production time, increasing accuracy and ultimately providing pilots with smoother operating propellers.

PIQUA, Ohio June 26, 2002 — Hartzell Propeller today unveiled a generational leap in manufacturing with its new propeller blade manufacturing process. The new process represents a $3 million investment in technology and demonstrates the commitment of Hartzell to driving improvements in all aspects of its propeller business.

Overall, the new process greatly improves the accuracy of manufacturing, reducing blade-to-blade weight and aerodynamic variability. The result for pilots and passengers is smoother running propellers. “Much has been made of blueprinted engines, this advancement in propeller blade manufacturing is its equivalent the “blueprinted” propeller, which will cover our entire product line and be available to all of our customers at no additional cost.” says Joe Brown, Co-President responsible for the manufacturing operations at Hartzell.

The new process also makes dramatic reductions in set-up and changeover times, requires no special tooling and directly utilizes design engineering generated CAD 3-D solid models all of which makes the incorporation of new designs, including Hartzell’s new technology blended airfoil scimitar blade designs more practical. Some of the results of these improvements have been seen in Hartzell’s most recent propeller designs for Cirrus, Lancair, Adam Aircraft and Bruce Bohannon’s record breaking Flyin’ Tiger, as well as for its own Top Prop program.

One example of the improved accuracy is in the machining of propeller blade shanks. This particular process establishes all the other dimensions of the blade, and is now controlled to .0001 in. (one-ten thousandth of an inch) or 2.5 microns. The airfoil is then produced from the computer generated solid model, cut in a single pass using a 7-axis mill. This process employs tool and part probing to ensure accuracy while operating at feed rates up to 900 IPM.

In addition to the machining equipment, a new Non-Destructive Test (NDT) cell provides more reliable blade testing. The environmentally friendly semi-automated Dynamic Cloud fluorescent penetrant inspection process eliminates procedure and operator variability to produce accurate results and ensure blades are free from even the most miniscule surface flaws.

Hartzell Propeller Inc. is widely recognized as the leader in advanced propeller design and manufacturing technology. NASA has recognized Hartzell’s advanced design capability by naming it the exclusive propeller partner for its General Aviation Propulsion (GAP) program. The company has recently developed the next generation of propeller designs based upon innovative blended airfoil technology and is manufacturing these blades on revolutionary machining centers to provide mission optimized performance for its customers. Hartzell traces its beginnings in 1917 to a relationship with Orville Wright and was founded on the principal of Built on Honor – a tradition that continues today. For more information visit the company on the Web at or fax your request to Hartzell at (937) 778-4321.

Hartzell Propeller