The All-Electric Aircraft is a major target for the next generation of aircraft to lower consumption of non-propulsive power and thus fuel burn. To eliminate hydraulic circuits, pumps and reservoirs, Electro Mechanical Actuators (EMA) are mandatory but now need to meet cost, reliability and weight requirements from the airframers.
ACTUATION 2015 aims to develop and validate a common set of standardised, modular and scalable EMA resources for all actuators (flight control, high lift, main landing gear, door, thrust reverser) and all types of aircraft (business, regional, commercial: airplanes and helicopters).
Compared to the A320, ACTUATION 2015 will reduce the overall Life Cycle Costs of actuators by 30%, improve reliability by 30% and reduce aircraft weight by 500kg.
The project relies on recent advances made in EU and national projects to integrate the required technologies (solid state power distribution, power electronics, operation in harsh conditions, jam tolerant EMA) to overcome the current barriers to EMA and mature EMA technologies to TRL5.
Standardising EMA modules (motors, power drive electronics, mechanics, sensing) will be a key enabler to succeed in achieving cost objectives and developing the supply chain. Standardisation will start during the project with the support of a standardisation body (CEN).
The technical approach will be to gather detailed airframes requirements, specify a set of standard modules and develop prototypes for assessment at component and actuator level through rig tests and the virtual validation of modules. In parallel, a unified EMA design process supported by standard methods and tools will also be developed.
ACTUATION 2015 will complement existing projects, notably CLEAN SKY SGO with an EMA solution, and pave the way towards the ACARE 2020 All-Electric Aircraft. ACTUATION 2015 is a 3 year integrated project comprising 55 partners representing the European stakeholders of the actuation and airframe sectors from 12 countries.
Standardising aircraft electrical actuator modular technology
The All-Electric Aircraft is a major target for the next generation of aircraft to lower consumption of non-propulsive power and thus fuel burn. Electro Mechanical Actuators (EMA) must replace hydraulic systems: ACTUATION2015 partners are developing a range of standardised modules for building EMAs and meet cost and reliability requirements from the air framers.
Electrifying aircraft systems is a major target for next-generation aircraft, making a great contribution to increasing efficiencies and decreasing fuel consumption and therefore harmful emissions. Various EU initiatives such as CleanSky, with its System for Green Operations component, have been launched to come closer to this goal.
The http://www.actuation2015.eu/ (ACTUATION2015) (ACTUATION 2015: Modular electro mechanical actuators for ACARE 2020 aircraft and helicopters) project will complete this overall approach by focusing on electromechanical actuator technologies. Such actuators are necessary to eliminate hydraulic circuits, pumps and reservoirs.
Project partners aim to develop and validate a common set of standardised, modular and scalable electromechanical actuator modules that meet cost and reliability requirements from airframers. Compared to current single-aisle aircraft, ACTUATION2015 will reduce the overall life-cycle costs of actuators by 30 %, improve reliability by 30 % and reduce overall aircraft weight by 500 kg.
Three types of standard modules – power drive electronics, motors and mechanics – have been specified and designed. Researchers have successfully addressed the technology related to hardware electromechanical actuator modules, including motor architectures, composite materials, mechatronics, new sensors and power electronics, while applying the standardisation process. Prototypes have been manufactured for assessment at module and actuator level. Individual modules and assembled EMAs will be evaluated using specially developed test rigs.
A major achievement has been the release of the Modelica actuator library, including multi-level module modelling and standard design tools to improve the qualification process. In addition, researchers have assessed new control and power management concepts.
Improved EMA reliability and availability will be achieved through good design practice in combination with an integrated prognostic health and usage monitoring system. ACTUATION2015 has studied methods of detecting the onset of failures, with the objective of being able to identify the need for maintenance actions before failures occur to minimise the possibility of in-flight failures.
The virtual demonstrators of nose-wheel steering and main landing gear actuators are complete. Over the next project phase the focus will be on assembling and testing the EMA demonstrators: linear aileron, rotary spoiler, high-lift system and e-braking system.
The pre-standardisation of the most relevant modules has started with the CEN in Brussels. Researchers' work will result in creating specifications for a set of standard modules that could be used to meet the needs of the majority of electromechanical actuator requirements thus enabling the development and production of modular electromechanical actuators.
The expected results will make a major contribution to the EU and aerospace industry ambitious goals of lowering emissions while enhancing competitiveness and sustainability.