“Even something as simple as sand ingestion can easily reduce an engine’s time between overhauls by 50 percent or more,” said Bob Stenberg, business development director for Donaldson (Booth No. 2847). The company specializes in the design and development of filtration systems and has recently received an FAA STC for an inlet barrier filter (IBF) system for the Bell 430.
“Operators of Bell 430 helicopters will have either the standard OEM engine inlet screen or an aftermarket particle separator,” he said. “What we are offering is a barrier filter. It protects the engine from sand or any foreign object that could potentially be ingested by the engine and result in blade erosion. It also protects the engine from a rock or something larger that could ding a blade and cause a reduction in performance.
“We have a six-ply media sandwiched between two stainless steel screens that we’ve found is more than 99 percent efficient on all types of sand,” he said. “Not only does it extend the life of the engine, but it also results in less expensive cold- and hot-section maintenance.”
When an engine is torn down for maintenance, it is common that parts are found, particularly rotating parts, which have excessive wear and must be replaced. “With our barrier filter we’ve found that when an engine goes in for an overhaul the hot-section parts will not have failed due to erosion. Our filter greatly reduces the potential for having to replace expensive parts during TBO,” he said. “The kit for the Bell 430 is about $75,000 compared to a potential repair bill during overhaul of as much as several hundred thousand dollars.”
A cockpit switch allows indication and activation of the bypass system. An integral filter maintenance aid allows for on-condition inspections between established cleaning intervals. The filter service cycle is 300 flight hours or one year with each filter capable of 15 service cycles (4,500 flight hours).