While Boeing and Airbus aircraft orders dominated news stories from this year’s Paris Air Show (see page 70), less-heralded shifts in manufacturing are gaining industry attention – and investment. Before the show, John Schmidt, the global managing director for consulting group Accenture’s aerospace and defense practice, said to watch for emerging trends that address the challenge of becoming more efficient and competitive.
Schmidt notes that companies will need to use data analytics to improve operations, supply chain and systems integration, as well as deliver more personalized and engaging customer experiences.
Strategically, he says they will need to determine how best to expand their digital transformation beyond engineering to embed digital technology and agility into their value chain – from aircraft design and manufacturing to pilot and passenger experiences, airline operations, and maintenance – all while collaborating with customers and suppliers at every step.
Digital transformation is a major industry trend, Schmidt states. According to the report, “Accelerating Through Digital Turbulence: Accenture Technology Vision 2017 for Aerospace and Defense Companies,” 98% of those companies report they have been comprehensively investing in digital technologies the past few years as part of their overall business strategies.
“Aerospace and defense companies will develop digital capabilities to differentiate their operations, both internally in how products are designed and manufactured and externally in how products are operated and maintained. They will leverage a wide range of capabilities from Big Data to augmented and mixed reality,” Schmidt predicts. “Data is like iron ore in the ground. The value is in analytics.”
Throughout the Paris Air Show the focus was on the rapidly growing amount of data being produced and how companies are using – and offering as a service – analytics to manage, understand, and generate insights from this data to improve decisions.
“Data is evolving from a valuable resource to the basis for entire business models and growth,” Schmidt says. While aerospace and defense companies now differentiate themselves mainly through their products, leveraging Big Data’s benefits will differentiate them through operational capabilities that offer a competitive edge.
For now, the news is from major players, with data-driven products such as GE’s Predix cloud-based platform for engine maintenance, Airbus’ digital aviation data platform Skywise, or Boeing’s AnalytX to transform data into actionable insights. But smart technology is for smaller companies, too. Accenture demonstrated its augmented reality glasses that can simplify a challenging assembly task. This wearable technology can help ease the shortage of trained staff, walking workers through difficult procedures. It also makes employees more flexible, able to learn and perform in new environments. The same technology can promote greater employee and customer interactivity to solve problems more quickly, increasing productivity and lowering costs.
Digital transformation will reshape business activities to drive efficiency and improve performance. Where is your company along that transformation timeline? – Eric
CNC turning center family
The Talent 42 and 51 CNC turning centers, part of the Super-Precision T-Series, are for 2-axis, high-precision machining or complex multi-tasking operations that require delicate part handling, and for parts made complete in a single setup.
The T-51, featuring an 8" chuck, is suited for hard turning and tight-tolerance work. Superior specifications eliminate secondary finishing operations while reducing cost and part handling. The T-42 features a 6" chuck.
Axial-leaded aluminum electrolytic capacitor
The HHT axial-lead aluminum electrolytic capacitor features a glass-to-metal seal to prevent dry-out of the capacitor electrolyte when exposed to high temperatures, preventing a drop in capacitance and increases in equivalent series resistance (ESR). The HHT has a shelf life of 10 years and an operational rated life of 2,000 hours at rated voltage and 175°C.
Designed for high-stress applications, the HHT is RoHS compliant and vibration rated to 20g.
Cornell Dubilier Electronics
VR8 high-pressure coolant system
The VR8 high-pressure coolant system (HPCS) with mounted chiller is energy efficient and adaptive. The addition to the Variable Volume VR series only uses as much horsepower as is required to make set pressure, and the system will automatically adjust the gallons-per-minute output to maintain it.
When combined with the RC36 mounted chiller, which provides constant coolant circulation and temperature control, the system solves thermal growth machining issues and allows users to increase their speeds and feeds. Pressure can be adjusted from the VR8’s primary logic controller (PLC) and controlled by the machine’s M-codes.
The open-loop system RC36 mounted chiller is for use with water-based coolants or oils with viscosities between 90SUS and 140SUS at 100°F. It removes up to 36,000 BTUs per hour at 70°F ambient with no need to add refrigerant or replace the compressor throughout its lifetime.
Jenette Ramos, a 29-year Boeing veteran with executive leadership roles in fabrication; supplier management; and environment, health, and safety, is the new senior vice president, Boeing Supply Chain & Operations, replacing Pat Shanahan, who has been nominated to serve as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Most recently vice president and general manager of fabrication at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Ramos will oversee manufacturing operations and supplier management functions, including implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies and global supply chain strategies. She also leads Boeing’s environment, health, and safety organization. She joins the Boeing executive council and reports to Boeing Chairman, President, and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
As leader of fabrication, Ramos led a global operation of more than 17,000 employees that serves as the largest manufacturing partner to all commercial airplanes programs. In that role, she integrated businesses at 11 sites that design and manufacture composite, metal, electrical, and interior aerospace parts, tools, and assemblies.
Ramos began her career in 1988 at the Boeing Renton plant as an environmental engineer in the facilities organization.
She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, and she earned a master’s degree in business from Seattle Pacific University and a bachelor of science degree from Washington State University.
Shanahan, a 30-year veteran of the company, previously served as vice president/general manager of airplane programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he oversaw management of the 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787 production programs. www.boeing.com
Combat rescue helicopter reaches critical design review
The U.S. Air Force combat rescue helicopter (CRH), designed by Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky, has reached air vehicle critical design review (CDR). This milestone prepares the program to proceed to assembly, test, and evaluation of the HH-60W helicopter, an advanced variant of the UH-60M Black Hawk.
In preparation for the CDR, the joint Air Force-Sikorsky team generated more than 300 technical documents, created and reviewed more than 50,000 hardware and software requirements, conducted 17 sub-system CDRs, and designed 3,000 new parts.
Sikorsky CRH Chief Engineer Jim Andrews says, “The team has leveraged digital design tools to generate manufacturing efficiencies that will reduce cost and schedule. This approach will lead ultimately to the HH-60W becoming the first Black Hawk derivative to have a paperless assembly line.”
The Air Force awarded Sikorsky the $1.28 billion engineering manufacturing & development (EMD) contract in June 2014, which includes development and integration of the next generation combat rescue platform and mission systems, delivery of four HH-60W helicopters, aircrew and maintenance training systems, and support for both.
In January 2017, the Air Force exercised a $203 million contract option with Sikorsky to provide five additional aircraft, bringing the total to nine. The Air Force program of record calls for 112 helicopters to replace the service’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters that perform combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services. www.lockheedmartin.com
Solar Atmospheres announces organization changes
Roger Jones has been appointed CEO for Solar Atmospheres’ four vacuum heat-treating locations in Souderton and Hermitage, Pennsylvania; Fontana, California; and Greenville, South Carolina. Roger, who started Solar Atmospheres’ vacuum heat-treating business with his father, company primary ownerWilliam Jones in 1983, previously held the position of corporate president.
Jamie Jones has been promoted to president for Solar Atmospheres, Souderton. He previously served as the location’s vice president of operations, and has been with the company for more than 20 years.
Trevor Jones has been promoted to CEO for Solar Manufacturing, Magnetic Specialties, and the newly developed Vacuum Pump Services Corp. Trevor has been active in the furnace operations and R&D department at Solar since 2004, and he previously held the position of principal engineer at Solar Atmospheres. www.solaratm.com
WPI launches center for materials processing data
Massachusetts’ Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has launched a center aimed at improving data gathering and computer modeling techniques, leading to the development of better equipment and materials for aerospace.
Center for Materials Processing Data (CMPD) members generate and manage time- and temperature-dependent material property data – formally called transient data – used in process modeling and simulation.
CMPD researchers will work to ensure the quality of the data and place it into a useable format software. The team will also use the data in computational models to simulate how the metals used in jet engines would behave in a range of conditions.
CMPD will formally begin work in January 2018 on two projects that are expected to take one to two years to complete. CMPD is the fourth center under WPI’s Metal Processing Institute, the largest university-industry alliance in North America.
Other CMPD partners are the University of Connecticut, the University of Buffalo, and ASM International. Pratt & Whitney Corp. is a founding corporate member. www.asminternational.org; www.buffalo.edu; www.pw.utc.com; www.uconn.edu; www.wpi.edu
Materialise software engineers have integrated the company’s additive manufacturing (AM) technology into Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software Inc.’s NX computer-aided design, manufacturing, and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) software to prepare CAD models for powder bed fusion and material jetting 3D printing processes. The result links NX with Materialise lattice technology and supports structures design, 3D nesting, build tray preparation, and build processors framework technology for AM. The integration eliminates data translation and conversions, and ensures that changes to digital product design models are automatically and associatively reflected in the 3D print jobs for greater model accuracy, higher quality, and a faster design-to-production process.
3D printed parts for US military satellites
An aluminum electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits, a remote interface unit, will be the first 3D-printed part certified for use on a Lockheed Martin military satellite when the U.S. Air Force’s sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite launches.
By going from multiple machined parts to one 3D-printed part, engineers saved time in the design and production cycle, and increased the quality and consistency of the units. The lead time for manufacturing the part went from 6 months to 1.5 months, with assembly time reduced from 12 hours to 3 hours.
“3D printing provides the ability to rapidly implement innovation by controlling production from design through implementation with one digital model,” says Iris Bombelyn, vice president of protected communications at Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
AEHF is a global military satellite communications system that provides protected, assured communication for strategic commanders and tactical warfighters. Lockheed Martin will deliver the fourth AEHF vehicle in 2017. AEHF-5 and AEHF-6 are in production and are on track to launch in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The qualified part onboard AEHF-6 was built using laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM), in which a laser melts and fuses aluminum metal powder layer-by-layer to build a part. The electronic enclosure will serve as a model for use on other programs that are designed using the A2100 satellite bus.
Lockheed Martin produced the first 3D-printed parts to fly on an interplanetary spacecraft, Juno, orbiting Jupiter, and a 3D-printed part flew on Orion’s first flight. Additionally, technicians are qualifying large, 3D-printed fuel tanks for the modernized A2100 satellite bus. www.lockheedmartin.com
Additive manufacturing in civil aviation
Additive manufacturing (AM) materials sold into civil aviation will surpass $650 million in revenues in 2022 and AM hardware sales will surpass $850 million in that same timeframe, according to SmarTech Publishing, an analyst firm for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. In the report, “Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace 2017 – Civil Aviation: An Opportunity Analysis and Ten-Year Forecast,” analysts project opportunities emerging in commercial and general aviation in metal AM and polymer AM (metal replacement and composite).
The report notes advancements in computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and product lifecycle management (PLM) software are driving the need for AM in commercial and general aviation manufacturing. Optimized, complex shapes and the need for automated production make AM attractive for more production requirements.
Powder bed polymer and metal AM are expected to benefit from new systems that support open materials. www.smartechpublishing.com