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Pratt & Whitney, USAF Launch Revolutionary Digital Engine Monitoring Technology

Pratt & Whitney, USAF Launch Revolutionary Digital Engine Monitoring Technology

For the first time in aerospace propulsion history, Pratt & Whitney has launched an innovative Usage-Based Lifing (UBL) program for its F119 5th generation engine fleet, which is expected to save the U.S. Air Force $800+ million over the life of the program – while continuing to maximize readiness.

By digitally combining aircraft flight data with Pratt & Whitney’s state-of-the-art maintenance engineering algorithms, UBL allows the USAF to plan engine maintenance when it’s actually needed – maximizing both warfighting readiness and maintenance cost savings.

Two F119 engines power each F-22 Raptor in the U.S. Air Force’s fleet. When the F-22 reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and was declared combat-ready in 2005, the F119 turbofan became the first operational 5th generation fighter engine in history. One of the exceptional performance benefits the F119 gives the F-22 is supercruise, the ability to fly at supersonic speeds without afterburning, which provides the F-22 exceptional combat performance without compromising mission range. In addition to supercruise, the F119 combines stealth technologies, vectored thrust, and high thrust-to-weight performance to provide unprecedented maneuverability and survivability.

Along with performance, sustainment is a critical part of any engine program, as it’s crucial to maintain readiness at high levels and keep costs within budget. For decades, engine sustainment budgeting and planning was completed largely based on historical data and average mission usage metrics. Without full flight data, maintainers can only make assumptions about how the aircraft was flown and is going to fly and those assumptions are applied to every engine without the ability to tailor maintenance to an engine’s specific needs. As a result, engine maintenance might be performed earlier or later than necessary, leading to inefficiencies over the long run.

Incorporating Usage-Based Lifing, however, allows the operator and Pratt & Whitney to collect large amounts of real-time data on engine components based on how it is actually being flown in the field versus an assumed mission mix. This constant flow of data is continuously re-analyzed and allows the customer to take advantage of the full life of the engine parts while reducing risk to the fleet. By capturing full flight data, UBL allows the operator to assess exactly how the aircraft was flown and apply the appropriate level of lifing capacity that was used – saving time and money while improving readiness.

Pratt & Whitney has partnered with the USAF over the last decade to utilize their combined engineering capabilities and logistics expertise to develop advanced tools sets and to capture the streaming data generated in today’s advanced platforms through the full flight of the aircraft/engine. The data is then transferred and processed through the Pratt & Whitney lifing system using advanced algorithms and logistics management tools. Those results are then passed to the maintainer in an actionable format. In order to reach this historic launch, a detailed validation plan was executed with the USAF. Pratt & Whitney captured and authenticated UBL data for two years to validate system functionality and integration points. 

As part of the UBL launch, the entire F-22 fleet stationed at Nellis AFB has been converted to UBL tracking, vastly improving sustainment capabilities; and the F-22 units at Langley AFB are expected to start the conversion in March. In addition to saving money, successfully implementing this technology across the fleet will provide the USAF a model for applying the UBL process to other engine sustainment programs, which will further reduce costs, streamline maintenance, and improve readiness for the nation’s warfighters.

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Hexagon And Stratasys Collaboration Delivers Holistic 3D Printing Solutions

Hexagon And Stratasys Collaboration Delivers Holistic 3D Printing Solutions

Through the virtual engineering and manufacturing support provided by the partnership, customers will be able to reduce a two to three-year timescale of designing and testing a part to six to nine months.


Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division has announced a new solution with Stratasys, a leader in polymer 3D printing solutions, to help manufacturers in the aerospace sector boost confidence in the performance and safety of 3D printed plastic components and compress time to market. Through the new partnership, users of Stratasys’ ULTEMTM 9085 filament can now use Hexagon’s Digimat material modeling software to predict how printed parts will perform.

Stratasys solutions deliver competitive advantages at every stage in the product value chain with innovative 3D printing solutions for industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer products and healthcare.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE >> https://bit.ly/3nAguko

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Tool Craft For Aircraft

Tool Craft For Aircraft

Andrei Petrilin, Technical Manager of ISCAR showcases its new developments for aircraft machining of tomorrow.  

In machining aerospace components, the main challenges relate to component materials. Titanium, high-temperature superalloys (HTSA), and creep-resisting steel are difficult to cut and machining is a real bottleneck in the whole aircraft supply chain. Poor machinability of these materials results in low cutting speeds, which significantly reduces productivity and shortens tool life. Both these factors are directly connected with cutting tools. 

In fact, when dealing with hard-to-machine typical aerospace materials, cutting tool functionality defines the existing level of productivity. The truth is, cutting tools in their development lag machine tools, and this development gap limits the capabilities of leading-edge machines in the manufacturing of aerospace components.  

Modern aircraft, especially unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), feature a considerably increased share of composite materials. Effective machining composites demand specific cutting tools, which is the focus of a technological leap in the aerospace industry.

Aircraft-grade aluminum continues to be a widely used material for fuselage elements. It may seem that machining aluminum is simple, however, selecting the right cutting tool is a necessary key to success in high-efficiency machining of aluminum.

A complex part shape is a specific feature of the turbine engine technology. Most geometrically complicated parts of aero engines work in highly corrosive environments and are made from hard-to-cut materials, such as titanium and HTSA, to ensure the required life cycle. A combination of complex shape, low material machinability, and high accuracy requirements are the main difficulties in producing these parts. Leading multi-axis machining centers enable various chip removal strategies to provide complex profiles in a more effective way. But a cutting tool, which comes into direct contact with a part, has a strong impact on the success of machining. Intensive tool wear affects surface accuracy, while an unpredictable tool breakage may lead to the discarding of a whole part. 

A cutting tool – the smallest element of a manufacturing system – turns into a key pillar for substantially improved performance. Therefore, aerospace part manufacturers and machine tool builders are waiting for innovative solutions for a new level of chip removal processes from their cutting tool producers. The solution targets are evident: more productivity and more tool life. Machining complex shapes of specific aerospace parts and large-sized fuselage components demand a predictable tool life period for reliable process planning and a well-timed replacement of worn tools or their exchangeable cutting components.

Coolant jet

In machining titanium, HTSA and creep-resisting steel, high pressure cooling (HPC) is an efficient tool for improving performance and increasing productivity. Pinpointed HPC significantly reduces the temperature at the cutting edge, ensures better chip formation and provides small, segmented chips. This contributes to higher cutting data and better tool life when compared with conventional cooling methods. More and more intensive applying HPC to machining difficult-to-cut materials is a clear trend in manufacturing aerospace components. Understandably, cutting tool manufacturers consider HPC tooling an important direction of development.

ISCAR, one of leaders in cutting tool manufacturing, has a vast product range for machining with HPC. In the last year, ISCAR has expanded its range by introducing new milling cutters carrying “classical” HELI200 and HELIMILL indexable inserts with 2 cutting edges (Fig. 1). This step brings an entire page of history to ISCAR’s product line.

The HELIMILL was modified and underwent changes which led to additional milling families and inserts with more cutting edges. The excellent performance and its close derivatives of the original tools ensured their phenomenal popularity in metalworking. Therefore, by adding a modern HPC tool design to the proven HELIMILL family was a direct response to customer demand and the next logical tool line to develop.

In Turning, ISCAR considerably expanded its line of assembled modular tools comprising of bars and exchangeable heads with indexable inserts. The bars have both traditional and anti-vibration designs and differ by their adaptation: cylindrical or polygonal taper shank. A common feature for the nodular tools is the delivery of internal coolant to be supplied directly to the required insert cutting edge (Fig. 2). The efficient distribution of coolant increases the insert’s tool life by reducing the temperature and improving chip control and chip evacuation; substantially increasing this application line in the aerospace industry.

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Airbus Expands MRO Footprint In Asia

Airbus Expands MRO Footprint In Asia

Following separate announcements by Asia Digital Engineering Sdn BhD (ADE) and Korea Aviation Engineering & Maintenance Service Ltd. (KAEMS) for Airbus customers in Asia, Mathew George, Ph.D, Analyst, Aerospace, Defense and Security at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“AirAsia Group’s ADE and KAI’s KAEMS made separate announcements on the expansion of maintenance, repairs and overhaul (MRO), thus marking an increased footprint for Airbus customers to avail MRO services in Asia. With the pandemic still wreaking havoc, airlines and countries had put on hold the programs to purchase new aircraft and make sure that the lives of the present aircraft be extended safely as much as possible. Countries, including India, actively started to explore MRO services and proposed the possible mechanisms and programs to turn themselves into regional MRO hubs.

According to GlobalData, the military aerospace MRO market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.93 percent in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region between 2020 and 2030 and will be valued at US$17.85bn by 2030.

While ADE obtained the approval for base maintenance (hangar or C-Checks) from Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), KAEMS was able to sign an MoU with Airbus Defense & Space (ADS) for technical support for C-212 and CN-235 aircraft. ADE’s support extends not just to AirAsia fleet of A320, A321 and A330 aircraft, the approval allows it to undertake MRO services for other airlines as well. ADE was also able to secure approvals from India’s DGCA and Indonesia, raising the bar for ADE and Malaysia to provide MRO services for airlines across Southeast Asia.

Governments have shown their resolve to fund upgrade and replacement programs. However, with lockdowns continuing in countries, and increasing cases like India’s still a possibility in other geographies, airlines and governments will continue to focus on sustainment of existing capability. In addition, with long lead times and unexpected delays still a possibility, a lackadaisical approach to MRO is not something anyone can afford.”

 

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