The global aerospace additive manufacturing (AM) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 21% during 2016-2021. Key factors driving the growth are weight reduction and fuel consumption; feasible and eco-friendly manufacturing process; growth in utilization and acceptance in the aerospace industry; and ease of manufacturing for complex parts and freedom in design.
The Americas will continue to dominate in the forecast period, while Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa will experience significant growth at a CAGR of around 21% and 20%, respectively. www.marketresearchfuture.com
Magellan Aerospace awarded maintenance contract for CF-188 F404-GE-400 engines
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has awarded Magellan Aerospace a contract for engine repair and overhaul and fleet management services on the F404-GE-400 engines and CF-18A/B secondary power systems of Canada’s fleet of CF-188 Hornet aircraft. Preliminary funding of $34.6 million will launch the agreement, which expires March 2021, with options to extend the agreement, based on performance.
Magellan will service the F404 engines at its facility in Mississauga, Ontario, and at Royal Canadian Air Force bases in Bagotville, Quebec, and Cold Lake, Alberta. www.magellanaerospace.com
Edge Gel removes soil, rust, heat tint/weld burn
Madison Chemical’s TreadBrite Edge Gel cleaner removes soil, laser scale, rust, and heat-treat scale, including heat tint/weld burn, by cleaning and brightening the surface through etching. The viscous gel contains surfactants and acids and can be used on aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, and copper. It is applied by pump, spray, or manual wiping or brushing on fabricated metal surfaces, where an exposed metal edge has been aggravated by CO2 laser cutting, or where sulfurized cutting oils and metalworking fluids have damaged stainless steel surfaces. www.madchem.com
Prescriptive analytics in aircraft maintenance
Features - Data Analytics
Analysis could vastly improve manufacturing efficiency for OEM and MRO operations.
Predictive analytics can provide possible outcomes of a situation. Prescriptive analytics – arguably the most crucial phase in system analysis – supplies optimal outcomes to pursue based on the best solution of each considered result. A simple example is the self-driving car. At each intersection, the vehicle must analyze all possible options, choosing the one to take based on the most desirable end. This model requires analytical units to think for themselves. In the aerospace industry, where original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and maintenance, repair and operations (MROs) are under tight deadlines to ensure the performance and safety of airplanes, this analysis model could improve efficiency.
In the aviation industry, to combat fluctuating fuel costs and changing flyer demand, many airlines have introduced the concept of rightsizing to their fleet management. This model uses predictive and prescriptive analytics to determine the best plane (regional jet versus a larger aircraft) to be used at any given time, allowing airlines to reach better efficiency standards for fuel usage and ticket offerings. Prescriptive analytics also influences fare determination, with airlines identifying the maximum ticket price a reasonable number of customers will pay at any given time before they are deterred. FLYR, a business-to-business travel company, predicts ticket prices and seat availability using prescriptive analytics to book at the lowest fares for consumers. FLYR’s system allows shoppers to lock in the lowest predicted airfares – even if those happen to be in the future.
MRO efficiency improved
Thanks to the rapid rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), aerospace companies now can collect massive amounts of data on everything from arrival times, fuel usage, and weather impacts, to the performance of miniscule parts within a plane engine. What can airlines and engineers garner from this data?
Until recently, airlines have been using this data for predicative purposes such as identifying the lifetime of a part. With the introduction of prescriptive analytics, computer systems can go beyond predicting possible outcomes to assigning optimal solutions for those outcomes. Predicative maintenance can tell an MRO when a part is most likely to fail. The MRO must then determine, weighing a variety of factors, such as part age, frequency of use or importance to plane performance, whether that part should be repaired or replaced. With the use of prescriptive maintenance, the possible outcomes and solutions to a predicted part failure can be analyzed, and the MRO can be provided with the optimal solution.
According to Airbus, grounding an A380 can cost nearly $1 million a day. Even delays of a few hours are tens of thousands of dollars. In 2015, mass cancellations due to weather at Chicago, Boston, and New York airports cost airlines an estimated $16 million dollars. While weather may not yet be a surmountable impediment, these examples illustrate the massive losses airlines face when their planes are grounded. By implementing prescriptive analytics to the maintenance equation, MROs can quickly gather potential problems and solutions and be ready to attend to incoming planes the moment they hit the ground.
Human-generated solutions to aircraft manufacturing are marked by inefficiency. The human mind cannot grasp all of the information needed to accurately predict and provide solutions to many possible outcomes. Data gathered in aircraft assembly can be analyzed to provide solutions to slowdowns, adjusting quickly to new information or interruptions, such as shipment delays, to provide best solutions.
Obstacles to adoption
While prescriptive analytics have revolutionized many aspects of the aviation industry, adoption for aircraft maintenance has been somewhat stilted. This is primarily due to the interruption the incorporation of prescriptive maintenance models will have on existing MRO activities. Before this model can be included in airplane MRO, several obstacles will need to be addressed.
Regulatory Approval – Aviation businesses must undergo extensive government regulation with major changes to routine maintenance schedules often determined by regulatory bodies.
Software Upgrades – For in-house and independent MROs, prescriptive analytics requires major software upheavals. Existing integration of IoT and the widespread use of handheld tablets by maintenance professionals for diagnosis and repair will ease this transition.
Staff Changes – Skilled professionals will be needed for upkeep of highly technical systems, increasing staff and associated expenses.
Despite these obstacles, International Data Corp. predicts that by 2020, 50% of all data-driven, decision-making software will incorporate prescriptive capabilities.
Aerospace supply chain
Similar to the use of IoT and predicative analytics, the benefits of prescriptive maintenance to MROs has implications for the aerospace supply chain as well. Implementation of this model can assist suppliers in identifying customer issues and providing quick solutions. Suppliers can track the lifetime of particular parts and systems and then predict when MROs will be in need of these parts again – all while taking into consideration factors such as frequency of aircraft use, changes in fleet requirements, and upgrades to existing parts. This reduces the amount of storage need for surplus parts, preventing overstock of parts that may become obsolete. At Kapco Global, an international parts distributor for MROs and OEMs, similar efficiency solutions include real- time inventory figures and reorder dates through its e-commerce solution, Kapco kart. The location of final destinations and warehouse locations are also considered to optimize shipping times.
Vikram Bhatt, COO of Kapco Global explains, “The concept of prescriptive analytics at all levels of operations is an exciting use of the vast amount of data already being collected by the industry. This model allows for continuous improvement in distribution intelligence, making the supply chain a valuable participant in providing efficiency to our MRO partners.”
The Spark 2100 T multi-tasking machining center reduces setup time for lean manufacturing practices. The system has an additional turning table fixed in the horizontal machining center’s base that configures the machine as a vertical lathe for optimal performance, accuracy, and stability in turning mode.
The machine’s automatic tool change system (ATC) has an intermediate buffer for tool pre-setting, providing tool change times in less than 8 seconds. A fixed turning head with ATC is also available for deep internal turning operations. An optional, three-point supported, rigid, robust angle head support is offered for radial operation in the internal side of hollow workpieces. The multi-tasking machine also features a rotary table balance control device and tool management software.
Installed by hand in an ordinary drill hole, self-retaining ball plungers have a flexible design and compensate for hole tolerances up to 0.008". The slotted end of the thermoplastic body expands to compensate in an oversize hole. The sturdy shoulder of the press-fit ball plunger provides a fixed seating position and positively resists detent force. Available in four sizes, the plungers can be installed in a plain hole, with the shoulder exposed, or slightly counter-bored for flush installation.
TungTurn-Jet turning tools have high-pressure, double-jet coolant systems that deliver coolant close to cutting edges to form short chips when machining difficult-to-cut materials. Tool life is also extended using the double-jet, preventing flank wear on the insert.
Even when using normal coolant pressure and existing equipment, TungTurn-Jet improves tool life for stainless and alloy steels as well as heat- resistant super alloys. This product line expansion adds new lines to the ISO-EcoTurn range to further expand its turning capability.
When clamped tools, such as a drill or a milling cutter, collide with workpieces, the occurring impact forces can be tremendous. Worst-case scenario is the components of the motor spindle can be damaged or destroyed completely. Valuable ceramic spindle bearings – components extremely sensitive to shock – rarely survive such crashes. Shafts, encoders, and the clamping system can be affected as well. Since the spindle must be repaired or replaced, expenses due to repair and downtime end up being in the tens of thousands of dollars. Motor spindle collision protection technology (MS³) from Jakob Antriebstechnik GmbH substantially reduces these costs.
Simulation software can often prevent a crash, but sometimes crashes still occur, and companies need protection to reduce downtime and costs. Simulation software is like vision systems for cars that help avoid accidents – but you still will not drive a car without bumpers or airbags for protection.
Considering that a spindle crash is one of the more common accidents when using machine tools, it is rather surprising that not many efforts have been made to develop an intelligent protection system.
“Collisions happen easily,” says Dr. Arno Wörn, the engineer who developed this product from Jakob.
The machine tool laboratory WLZ at the Technical University in Aachen, Germany, estimates the average costs for exchanging the affected components at $25,000.
“But when the motor spindle is beyond repair and must be replaced, costs can easily rise over $45,000,” Wörn says. “It takes as little as an operating error or faulty programming to cause a collision, especially when operators have little experience with new machines.”
Machine tool manufacturers often bear the costs of a collision during the warranty period, which could be avoided with a motor spindle collision protection system.
Only very few machine tools have spindle-collision protection. Standard systems available on the market generally rely on compression elements which act like a car bumper and are destroyed completely in the event of a crash. Shock-sensitive spindle components are left intact, but downtime still occurs. Compression elements have to be replaced, and the spindle unit has to be adjusted and mounted again so that the machine tool can resume work with its original precision.
“A serious damage of the spindle bearings may be avoided but service costs and downtimes continue to be a problem,” Wörn explains. “This is what makes the difference when using the MS³ system, a double-flanged system with built-in permanent magnets. Prototypes using springs lacked the necessary rigidity.”
Permanent magnets in the MS³ with 18kN of adhering force eliminate this disadvantage.
“When the tool and workpiece collide, when the applied force exceeds a pre-defined threshold, the system decouples before any harm is done,” Wörn explains.
The passive, exclusively mechanic mode of action allows the system to react more quickly than electronic process-monitoring. A built-in shock absorber neutralizes kinetic energy from the crash. Compression springs guide the motor spindle during the process and precisely reset it to its original position. Additional external service is not necessary, and downtimes are limited to exchanging the tools. The magnet system has been designed as a closed unit, so chips cannot get into the spindle when cutting or drilling metal work pieces. MS³ is maintenance-free and adjustable to all standard motor spindle setups.
The compact Jakob component requires additional space in the machine, but it can be designed as a standalone unit or integrated into an existing motor spindle. It mainly addresses companies active in production – especially those fearing high crash rates from frequent tool changes.
“Companies from Japan and the USA have already indicated their interest at the AMB in Stuttgart and sent inquiries,” Wörn says. “Two companies in the U.S. have tested this technology and have either added this technology to their existing products or are planning to have it as an option.”