This proposal described the effort planned by the partners FACC AG, Austria & University of applied sciences (UAS) Rapperswil, Switzerland, for the development of a CFRP annulus filler. Production process was an advanced preform concept with folding techniques and integration of all connection parts, injected with resin by an improved RTM process. Part development started with material tests on coupons, continued by the manufacturing of a prototype design, and finally ending in a close-to-series-production of 56 annulus filler.
In addition, a quality assurance supervisor accompanied the project from the beginning on in order to establish a quality measurement system suitable for a serial production. Material- & process development was led by UAS Rapperswil, while manufacturing, quality assurance and non-destructive testing was be under the responsibility of FACC. FACC AG is Austria’s first-tier aircraft supplier in composite components, UAS Rapperswil is specialised in RTM process improvements and preform technologies.
An annulus filler is a rotating part on modern jet engines. It smoothens the airstream and is vital for proper functioning of the rotor system. Designed to be as lightweight as possible, yet stable enough for impact of small to medium birds and hailstones, the current state of the art are metallic designs.
The main task of the ORCA project was to design, manufacture and test a composite annulus filler. After several design iterations, a composite design was considered mature enough to be manufactured and tested on the Advanced low pressure system (ALPS) engine of the (sustainable and green engine) SAGE3 project.
The targets set at the beginning of the project were overfulfilled. In comparison to the best existing design, the ORCA filler reduces the weight by over 40%, whilst providing the same excellent impact and fatigue behaviour. Cost wise, the part is competitive to existing designs, with possible further cost reduction summing up to a lighter and less expensive part.
The part had been awarded with the international JEC award on innovation in aeronautics in 2014, and sets a new benchmark for cost- and quality efficient production routes for CFRP parts.
The part had been on display at exhibitions, and several lectures and conference contributions were published. Three patents were filed protecting the generated foreground.