The SEPDC project conceived, designed and manufactured an Electrical Test Bench (ETB) to be used by airframers to support verification activities over different aircraft electrical architectures (Green Regional Aircraft, Green Business Jet and Green rotorcraft). The SEPDC project featured a smart HVDC network in charge of the electrical power distribution with the capability to integrate different electrical starter-generators and power-end consumers. The HVDC network was based on a modular and reconfigurable architecture to meet the variety of different electrical aircraft topologies. Thus, the key connection elements both for generators and loads will be easily exchangeable electromechanical components refer to as RACKS.
The innovative concept of smart electrical power distribution system (SEPDC) to develop was based on synchronised measurements and controls of contactors from a single control unit integrated in a single engineering interface.
The SEPDC "Smart Electrical Power Distribution Centre" was developed as part of the Clean Sky partnership between the European Commission and the European Aeronautical Industry, a partnership which is set up to bring significant innovations regarding the environmental impact of aviation by improving aircraft reliability and efficiency by contributing to the continuous development of More Electrical Aircraft (MEA).
SEPDC delivered the distribution centre of the Electrical Test Bench (ETB) which is housed on the premises of the Task Manager, SAFRAN Hispano-Suiza. The multi-disciplinary nature of the project brought together three consortium partners, each with their own specialisation; ESIEE-Amiens (management, power electronics and simulation), Triphase (power electronics, measurement and control) and Hazemeyer (electrical distribution).
The main objective of the SEPDC as a new distribution centre for the already existing ETB was to bring a measure of flexibility to the manner in which equipment was electrically connected to the test bench. To this end the SEPDC consists of a Central Cabinet and drawer-like Racks. The Central Cabinet contains the required 28Vdc LVDC, ±270Vdc HVDC and 115/230Vac AC bus bars but is capable of 540Vdc operation as well. It also houses the Racks and real-time target (RTT) which acts as the interface to the Racks.
It is through the use of these withdrawable Racks that the SEPDC provides a highly configurable interface through which to connect sources and loads to the bus bars, and the bus bars to themselves. This is made possible by the high power switching element which is housed in each of the Racks, allowing equipment to be permanently connected to Racks, but easily connectable and disconnect able from the bus bars through commands given by the user, with the result that the ETB layout can be reconfigured with ease.
By bringing this high level of reconfigurability to the ETB the SEPDC allows aircraft manufactures to conduct verification activities over the different aircraft electrical architectures for Green Regional Aircraft, Green Business Jets, General Architecture and Green Rotorcraft. The SEPDC, critically, thus also enhances and speeds-up validation and evaluation processes of new technologies (starter/generators, actuators, drives) as required for MEA during test-bench testing, aiding in keeping the European aerospace sector competitive by shortening the delivery to market time of new, innovative and essential aircraft technologies.
SEPDC kicked off in July 2011 and quickly progressed passed both its preliminary and critical design reviews in March and April of 2012, respectively. Following intense development and manufacturing the first of the Racks were successfully put through their factory acceptance tests in January of 2013. Soon after followed the successful factory acceptance test of the SEPDC in April 2013, combining the Racks and Central Cabinet.
The SEPDC was then delivered to Hispano-Suiza (now Labinal Power) in May 2013. Following the completion and delivery of the final Racks, the SEPDC successfully passed its final commissioning in December 2013; proving its full operation, both on hardware and software levels, and verifying that it is ready to play its vital and important role in the Clean Sky Eco Design ITD test regime by enabling the connection and testing of various other Clean Sky related projects such as Smart Programmable Load & Source (SPLS), STARTGENSYS, Helicopter Electro-Mechanical Actuators (HEMAS) and the Electrical Environmental Control System (e-ECS).