Affordable transport for the citizen relies on innovative solutions and technologies that will result in lower costs and lead-time of the aircraft and its systems. In this area, the packaging of on-board computers is an important contributor.
The Packaging of futuRe Integrated ModulAr Electronics (PRIMAE) objective is to develop a new flexible, robust and open aeronautical packaging for the next generation of electronics and particularly to Integrated Modular Avionics. After standardisation, this new concept will be able to replace the 35 year old ARINC 600 standard.
PRIMAE technical objectives are:
- Reduce electronics packaging in terms of volume (50%) and weight (30%) and offer flexibility and growth capability;
- Reduce costs (20%) using market standard components;
- Enhance reliability (50%) through thermal and vibratory breakthrough;
- Mitigate EMC protection penalties in composite fuselage environment;
- Ensure fast production ramp up and support rapid final assembly on aircraft;
- Improve availability and reduce maintenance cost.
In these domains significant technological studies, beyond the state of the art (cooling, lightweight composite materials, electromagnetic interferences, power supply, connectivity), will be carried out in respect to airworthiness regulations.
To achieve the PRIMAE objectives, 3 steps are required:
- Definition phase of air framers and suppliers requirement;
- Research and evaluation of advanced packaging technologies;
- Specification and development of representative mock-up to integrate different technologies.
The concept once harmonized among the main European players participating in this project, will be proposed as a standard for the future generation of large and regional aircraft, and helicopters. The new packaging concept will strengthen competitiveness of the market and will support the effort of industrial avionics suppliers to improve costs and environmental impacts.
Next-generation aeronautical on-board electronics
Housing of aircraft on-board electronics is a key factor for installation and maintenance. An EU initiative set up a new standard that better suits today's constraints compared to the widely used, decades-old existing standard.
As avionics functions such as flight management and flight control grew over time, so did the size and complexity of their dedicated software and hardware. This resulted in high maintenance costs, the need to store a wide range of spare parts and costly functional upgrades. Although the packaging solutions of these federated architectures have supported the complexity growth in avionics solutions, the time has come to find an alternative to this packaging to cope with the challenge of housing new technological and architectural innovations.
The EU-funded PRIMAE (Packaging of future integrated modular electronics) project set out to develop flexible, robust and open packaging for the next generation of aeronautical electronics.
Project partners worked to reduce the volume and weight of electronics packaging, cut costs and boost reliability. They defined and refined the specifications for cooling and packaging standards, and also worked on three candidate pre-designs.
The team conducted a series of advanced technology studies related to airworthiness regulations, namely cooling, lightweight composite materials, electromagnetic interferences, power supply and connectivity.
Several state-of-the-art technologies were successfully implemented. They include new cooling technologies, direct aircraft connectivity, modular versatile connectors and composite lightweight structures.
After harmonising the concept, the PRIMAE team proposed it as a standard for the packaging of future generations of electronics for the large and regional aircraft and helicopters of tomorrow.
Thanks to PRIMAE, the new packaging concept will bolster market competitiveness and support the efforts by industrial avionics suppliers to improve costs and environmental impact.