If you haven’t already, two acronyms to consider adding to your vocabulary are SBIR and STTR. The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs encourage U.S. small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) to apply for federal funding to help commercialize research and development innovations critical to national priorities. Among the dozen participating agencies, of potentially greatest interest to Aerospace Manufacturing and Design readers are the Department of Defense and NASA SBIR/STTR programs.
SBIR allows small businesses to develop technology with an incentive to profit from commercialization of their ideas or processes. Money is awarded through a competitive process, via two or three solicitations per year based on the agencies’ needs. Awards are given in three phases, with funds increasing for winners of each round. Phase I (6-month contract, $125,000 max. funding) lets businesses establish the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of the proposed innovation. Phase II (24-month contract, $750,000 max.) focuses on development, demonstration, and delivery of the proposals.
Examples of NASA’s research and development (R&D) needs have included power generation and energy storage technology for unmanned aircraft and deep-space exploration, autonomous intelligent systems, and wheel technology for future-generation Mars rovers.
Emerging small-business technologies of recent interest to the U.S. Air Force and Navy have included sensors, materials, artificial intelligence and machine learning, hypersonics, micro-electronics, and power and energy.
STTR programs differ slightly in emphasizing public-private sector partnerships by requiring the small business applicant to formally collaborate with university or non-profit research institutes in Phase I and Phase II. STTR Phase I contracts last for 12 months with a maximum funding of $125,000, and Phase II contracts last for 24 months with the maximum contract value of $750,000.
The ultimate goal of these joint venture opportunities is Phase III, the commercialization of innovative technologies, products, and services developed from earlier phase contracts. Phase III contracts are funded from non-SBIR/STTR sources and may be awarded without further competition, according to NASA’s SBIR/STTR website.
The JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, a Northeast-Ohio non-profit venture development organization, gives compelling reasons to participate in SBIR, the foremost being a 1-in-5 chance of securing $150,000 to $1,000,000 in government capital.
During a recent panel discussion hosted by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Air Force and Navy representatives agreed the SBIR/STTR programs help them move technology to market quickly.
“We need new, small businesses, non-traditional defense partners,” says the Navy Department’s Arveice Washington.
“We need to be cutting-edge with suppliers and create an ecosystem of strategic partnerships,” adds Elizabeth Pyne, Naval Surface Warfare Center - Crane Division. “We need to team sooner to transition technology faster.”
Let me know if you have first-hand experience with SBIR/STTR you’d like to share. – Eric
Analytics-enabled complex assemblies (ACA) capability– leverages analytics to assemble complex airplane parts of diverse materials; machines complex parts on different machines, drills precision hole-bores; reduces complexity, cost, facility requirements, and risk; improves throughput, design-change sensitivity; used on manned/autonomous aircraft systems including U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton, U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D analytics – improve airframe manufacturing processes; combine airframe manufacturing data with artificial intelligence/machine learning, AR, VR to capture human variability, work content that reduces rework, disruption, downtime.
Recaro seats win design awards
Recaro Aircraft Seating won a Crystal Cabin Award for its “sleeping comfort in the sky” holistic approach to long-haul, economy class seating. The manufacturer created comfort elements in the headrest, seat bottom, and a flip cushion that enable better body posture, reduce pressure points, and make it easier to change sleeping positions. A jury of experts awarded the prize at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, in Hamburg, Germany.
Recaro also received a Red Dot 2019 Product Design Award for its BL3710 economy class seat that combines lightweight, ergonomic design with comfort.
Among the features: a 6-way adjustable headrest with integrated neck support to enhance passenger comfort and a meal-table that can be unfolded even when the tablet holder is in use.
An international jury selects Red Dot winners for exceptional design. This year, they evaluated 5,500 entries.
It’s the company’s second Red Dot Design Award. In 2012, Recaro’s BL3520 economy class seat was voted best of the best.
7D Kinematic Metrology acquires Nikon Metrology tracking business
Cambridge, Canada-based 7D Kinematic Metrology Inc. acquired Nikon Metrology’s iGPS dynamic tracking business. iGPS sensors can track movement of an unlimited number of devices such as large assembly parts, tools, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs), even within large facilities. The technology enables advanced manufacturing and assembly of large-scale products such as aircraft or aerospace components.
Nikon Corporate VP Tadashi Nakayama says the sale reflects Nikon’s decision “to focus on optical and X-ray inspection and non-contact metrology.”
7D Kinematic Metrology is part of Amrikart Ultraprecision group, specialists in real-time assisted assembly solutions.
1) What differentiates Greenleaf’s standard and custom indexable tooling solutions?
When responding to customer needs, Greenleaf is focused on providing speed. We have partnerships with key customers within the aerospace industry.
Standard applications are processed directly through our Customer Service department. For custom applications, Greenleaf targets 48 hours for description quotes, 72 hours for a full quote of individual tools, and five days for a complete tooling layout of aerospace components. Greenleaf provides this level of service by identifying application requirements, ensuring the request is routed and processed through our quotation system accurately and quickly.
2) What is Greenleaf’s philosophy for working with aerospace clients?
Greenleaf has always focused on understanding the needs of the aerospace industry and is committed to being a value-added partner. Practically every machined metal part on an aircraft has been touched by a Greenleaf product.
We leverage this background, along with the knowledge and experience of our Engineering team and our high-volume manufacturing facility, when working on new projects. The key to our success is flexibility. Greenleaf runs toward challenging applications that others avoid.
3) What disruptive technology is Greenleaf pioneering to benefit aerospace engine part manufacturers?
Greenleaf has developed an indexable milling solution to slot mill turbine discs and blisks. Traditionally, these parts have been broached or milled with a solid carbide end mill, both of which are very time consuming and expensive.
Our indexable slotting tools, both straight and curved, can use carbide or ceramic inserts, and we have reduced the time it takes to mill a slot/vane on a blisk from an average of 30 minutes down to three minutes! This 10x increase in productivity dramatically increases throughput. Plus, an indexable insert solution is much more economical and avoids regrinding solid-carbide end mills or large, high-speed broaches. Greenleaf’s indexable slotting tools are simpler and much more cost effective.
4) What other areas benefit from Greenleaf’s ceramic tooling expertise and technology?
From roughing with scale to finishing, Greenleaf has the right products to deliver productivity and results. Although some think that finishing is for carbide only, Greenleaf has proven successfully that you can finish with ceramics. We highly recommend using our ceramic grade WG-600® with a T1 edge prep for increased strength and minimum smearing during finishing operations. When roughing scale cuts, we recommend using the strongest insert shape possible (a round insert or the largest corner radius possible) in our ceramic grade XSYTIN®-1. A T2A edge prep works best for roughing and other heavy- duty machining applications.
5) What makes Greenleaf unique in the tooling industry?
Greenleaf was founded on a spirit of innovation and technology nearly 75 years ago. With the recent introduction of our XSYTIN®-1 phase-toughened ceramic grade, to our proprietary solution for indexable milling of turbine discs and blisks, we continue to reach new heights of productive tooling solutions.
We typically see productivity increases of 10x when we convert aerospace customers to using a Greenleaf product. That performance gain is only possible by having breakthrough materials technology, the absolute best quality, and highly skilled applications engineers who can properly apply the product. Speed, flexibility, innovation, quality, and great people are a tough combination to beat!
For more info: http://www.greenleafcorporation.com
MC Machinery Systems’ TV-500 offers a choice of a 12,000rpm, 20,000rpm, or 24,000rpm high-speed spindle driven by a 4.6kW motor. BBT-30 dual-contact tooling delivers extra rigidity and better Z-axis depth control. Fast, simple tool changes provide multi-axis machining in one setup.
Advanced PLC software and Mitsubishi controls drive a bi-directional tool magazine. A tool magazine allows rotation, accuracy, and smooth motion even while large tools are loading.