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Technical Paper

Low Cost Reconfigurable Jig Tooling and In-Process Metrology for High Accuracy Prototype Rotorcraft Wing Assembly

2019-09-16
2019-01-1877
Reconfigurable tooling frames consisting of steel box sections and bolted friction clamps offer an opportunity to replace traditional expensive welded steel tooling. This well publicized reconfigurable reusable jig tooling has been investigated for use in the assembly of a prototype compound helicopter wing. Due to the aircraft configuration, the wing design is pinned at both ends and therefore requires a higher degree of end to end accuracy, over the 4m length, than conventional wings. During the investigation some fundamental issues are approached, including: Potential cost savings and variables which effect the business case. Achievable Jig accuracy. Potential sources of instability that may affect accuracy over time. Repeatability of measurements with various features and methods. Typical jig stability over 24hrs including effects of small temperature fluctuations. Deflections that occur due to loading.
Technical Paper

Advanced Assembly Solutions for the Airbus RACER Joined-Wing Configuration

2019-09-16
2019-01-1884
The Rapid And Cost Effective Rotorcraft (RACER) is being developed by Airbus Helicopters (AH) to demonstrate a new Vertical Take-Off and Landing configuration to fill the mobility gap between conventional helicopters and aeroplanes. RACER is a compound rotorcraft featuring wings and multiple rotors. The wing arrangement suggested by AH is defined as a staggered bi-plane joined configuration with an upper and a lower straight wing, either side of the fuselage, connected at their outboard extent to form a triangular structure. The ASTRAL consortium, consisting of the University of Nottingham and GE Aviation Systems, are responsible for the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of the wings. Producing an optimised strategy to assemble a joined-wing configuration for a passenger carrying rotorcraft is challenging and novel. The objective of this work concerns all aspects of assembling the joined-wing structure.
Technical Paper

Morphological Characterization of Gasoline Soot-in-Oil: Development of Semi-Automated 2D-TEM and Comparison with Novel High-Throughput 3D-TEM

2019-09-09
2019-24-0042
Characterization of soot nanoparticle morphology can be used to develop understanding of nanoparticle interaction with engine lubricant oil and its additives. It can be used to help direct modelling of soot-induced thickening, and in a more general sense for combatting reductions in engine efficiency that occur with soot-laden oils. Traditional 2D transmission electron microscopy (TEM) characterization possesses several important shortcomings related to accuracy that have prompted development of an alternative 3D characterization technique utilizing electron tomography, known as 3D-TEM. This work details progress made towards facilitating semi-automated image acquisition and processing for location of structures of interest on the TEM grid. Samples were taken from a four cylinder 1.4 L gasoline turbocharged direct injection (GTDI) engine operated in typically extra-urban driving conditions for 20,284 km, with automatic cylinder deactivation enabled.
Technical Paper

Soot in the Lubricating Oil: An Overlooked Concern for the Gasoline Direct Injection Engine?

2019-04-02
2019-01-0301
Formation of soot is a known phenomenon for diesel engines, however, only recently emerged for gasoline engines with the introduction of direct injection systems. Soot-in-oil samples from a three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine have been analysed. The samples were collected from the oil sump after periods of use in predominantly urban driving conditions with start-stop mode activated. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was performed to measure the soot content in the drained oils. Soot deposition rates were similar to previously reported rates for diesel engines, i.e. 1 wt% per 15,000 km, thus indicating a similar importance. Morphology was assessed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Images showed fractal agglomerates comprising multiple primary particles with characteristic core-shell nanostructure. Furthermore, large amorphous structures were observed. Primary particle sizes ranged from 12 to 55 nm, with a mean diameter of 30 nm and mode at 31 nm.
Technical Paper

Assessing the Accuracy of Soot Nanoparticle Morphology Measurements Using Three-Dimensional Electron Tomography

2019-04-02
2019-01-1188
Morphology plays an important role in determining behaviour and impact of soot nanoparticles, including effect on human health, atmospheric optical properties, contribution to engine wear, and role in marine ecology. However, its nanoscopic size has limited the ability to directly measure useful morphological parameters such as surface area and effective volume. Recently, 3D morphology characterization of soot nanoparticles via electron tomography has been the subject of several introductory studies. So-called ‘3D-TEM’ has been posited as an improvement over traditional 2D-TEM characterization due to the elimination of the error-inducing information gap that exists between 3-dimensional soot structures and 2-dimensional TEM projections. Little follow-up work has been performed due to difficulties with developing methodologies into robust high-throughput techniques.
Technical Paper

Composite Lightweight Automotive Suspension System (CLASS)

2019-04-02
2019-01-1122
The Composite Lightweight Automotive Suspension System is a composite rear suspension knuckle/tieblade consisting of UD prepreg (epoxy resin), SMC (vinylester resin) carbon fibre and a steel insert to reduce the weight of the component by 35% and reduce Co2. The compression moulding manufacturing process and CAE optimisation are unique and ground-breaking for this product and are designed to allow high volume manufacture of approx. 30,000 vehicles per year. The manufacturing techniques employed allow for multi-material construction within a five minute cycle time to make the process viable for volume manufacture. The complexities of the design lie in the areas of manufacturing, CAE prediction and highly specialised design methods. It is a well-known fact that the performance of a composite part is primarily determined by the way it is manufactured.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Transformable Manufacturing Systems through the Evolvable Assembly Systems Project

2019-03-19
2019-01-1363
Evolvable Assembly Systems is a five year UK research council funded project into flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems. The principal goal of the research programme has been to define and validate the vision and support architecture, theoretical models, methods and algorithms for Evolvable Assembly Systems as a new platform for open, adaptable, context-aware and cost effective production. The project is now coming to a close; the concepts developed during the project have been implemented on a variety of demonstrators across a number of manufacturing domains including automotive and aerospace assembly. This paper will show the progression of demonstrators and applications as they increase in complexity, specifically focussing on the Future Automated Aerospace Assembly Phase 1 technology demonstrator (FA3D).
Technical Paper

Potential Improvements in Turbofan’s Performance by Electric Power Transfer

2018-10-30
2018-01-1962
Bleeding in engines is essential to mitigate the unmatched air massflow between low and High Pressure (HP) compressors at low speed settings, thus avoiding unstable operation due to surge and phenomena. However, by emerging the More Electric Aircraft (MEA) the engine is equipped with electrical machines on both high and Low Pressure (LP) spools which enables transfer of power electrically from one spool to another and hence provides the opportunity to operate engine core components closer to their optimum design point at off-design conditions. At lower power setting of the engine, HPC speed can be increased by taking power from LP shaft and feeding it to HP shaft which can lead to the removal of the bleeding system which in turn reduces weight and fuel consumption and help to overcome engine instability issues. Fuel consumption can be decreased by decreasing inconsistent thrust with the aircraft mission for flight and ground idle settings.
Technical Paper

Morphological Characterisation of Diesel Soot in Oil and the Associated Extraction Dependence

2018-04-03
2018-01-0935
The size and morphology of soot particles and agglomerates extracted from lubricating oil drawn from the sump of a diesel engine have been investigated and compared using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA). Samples were prepared for electron microscopy imaging by both centrifugation and solvent extraction to investigate the impact of these procedures on the morphological characteristics, such as skeleton length and width and circularity, of the obtained soot. It was shown that centrifugation increases the extent of agglomeration within the sample, with 15% of the agglomerates above 200 nm compared to only 11% in the solvent extracted soot. It was also observed that the width of centrifugation extracted soot was typically 10 nm to 20 nm larger than that of solvent extracted soot, suggesting that centrifugation forces the individual agglomerate chains together.
Technical Paper

Evaluating Performance of Uncoated GPF in Real World Driving Using Experimental Results and CFD modelling

2017-09-04
2017-24-0128
Environmental authorities such as EPA, VCA have enforced stringent emissions legislation governing air pollutants released into the atmosphere. Of particular interest is the challenge introduced by the limit on particulate number (PN) counting (#/km) and real driving emissions (RDE) testing; with new emissions legislation being shortly introduced for the gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, gasoline particulate filters (GPF) are considered the most immediate solution. While engine calibration and testing over the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Cycle (WLTC) allow for the limits to be met, real driving emission and cold start constitute a real challenge. The present work focuses on an experimental durability study on road under real world driving conditions. Two sets of experiments were carried out. The first study analyzed a gasoline particulate filter (GPF) (2.4 liter, diameter 5.2” round) installed in the underfloor (UF) position and driven up to 200k km.
Technical Paper

Cyclically Resolved Flame and Flow Imaging in an SI Engine Operating with Future Ethanol Fuels

2017-03-28
2017-01-0655
This work was concerned with study of the in-cylinder flow field and flame development in a spark ignition research engine equipped with Bowditch piston optical access. High-speed natural light (chemiluminescence) imaging and simultaneous in-cylinder pressure data measurement and analysis were used to understand the fundamentals of flame propagation for a variety of ethanol fuels blended with either gasoline or iso-octane. PIV was undertaken on the same engine in a motoring operation at a horizontal imaging plane close to TDC (10 mm below the fire face) throughout the compression stroke (30°,40°,90° and 180°bTDC) for a low load engine operating condition at 1500rpm/0.5 bar inlet plenum pressure. Up to 1500 cycles were considered to determine the ensemble average flow-field and turbulent kinetic energy. Finally, comparisons were made between the flame and flow experiments to understand the apparent interactions.
Technical Paper

Design of a Reconfigurable Assembly Cell for Multiple Aerostructures

2016-09-27
2016-01-2105
This paper presents novel development of a reconfigurable assembly cell which assembles multiple aerostructure products. Most aerostructure assembly systems are designed to produce one variant only. For multiple variants, each assembly typically has a dedicated assembly cell, despite most assemblies requiring a process of drilling and fastening to similar tolerances. Assembly systems that produce more than one variant do exist but have long changeover or involve extensive retrofitting. Quick assembly of multiple products using one assembly system offers significant cost savings from reductions in capital expenditure and lead time. Recent trends advocate Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) as a solution; designed to have exactly the functionality necessary to produce a group of similar components. A state-of-the-art review finds significant benefits in deploying RAS for a group of aerostructures variants.
Technical Paper

Variation Aware Assembly Systems for Aircraft Wings

2016-09-27
2016-01-2106
Aircraft manufacturers desire to increase production to keep up with anticipated demand. To achieve this, the aerospace industry requires a significant increase in the manufacturing and assembly performance to reach required output levels. This work therefore introduces the Variation Aware Assembly (VAA) concept and identifies its suitability for implementation into aircraft wing assembly processes. The VAA system concept focuses on achieving assemblies towards the nominal dimensions, as opposed to traditional tooling methods that aim to achieve assemblies anywhere within the tolerance band. It enables control of the variation found in Key Characteristics (KC) that will allow for an increase in the assembly quality and product performance. The concept consists of utilizing metrology data from sources both before and during the assembly process, to precisely position parts using motion controllers.
Journal Article

Structural Quality Inspection Based on a RGB-D Sensor: Supporting Manual-to-Automated Assembly Operations

2015-09-15
2015-01-2499
The assembly and manufacture of aerospace structures, in particular legacy products, relies in many cases on the skill, or rather the craftsmanship, of a human operator. Compounded by low volume rates, the implementation of a fully automated production facility may not be cost effective. A more efficient solution may be a mixture of both manual and automated operations but herein lies an issue of human error when stepping through the build from a manual operation to an automated one. Hence the requirement for an advanced automated assembly system to contain functionality for inline structural quality checking. Machine vision, used most extensively in manufacturing, is an obvious choice, but existing solutions tend to be application specific with a closed software development architecture.
Technical Paper

Light Weight Aerospace Assembly Fixture

2015-09-15
2015-01-2496
There is the need to strive towards more advanced aircraft with the use of materials such as composites, and a desire to improve efficiency by achieving and maintaining laminar flow over a large proportion of the aircraft wing. Due to the high tolerances required to achieve laminar flow, the manufacturing processes and tooling will have to be revaluated to enable successful manufacture in a production environment. A major influence in achieving the key characteristics and tolerances is the assembly fixture. This paper details the design and manufacture of a carbon fibre based assembly fixture, required for a one-off build of an innovative leading edge wing concept. The fixture has been designed and optimised in order to make it adaptable, reconfigurable, and suitable for lifting as well as being thermally stable whilst maintaining laminar flow tolerances.
Technical Paper

Towards Self-Adaptive Fixturing Systems for Aircraft Wing Assembly

2015-09-15
2015-01-2493
The aim of this work was to develop a new assembly process in conjunction with an adaptive fixturing system to improve the assembly process capability of specific aircraft wing assembly processes. The inherently complex aerospace industry requires a step change in its capability to achieve the production ramp up required to meet the global demand. This paper evaluates the capability of adaptive fixtures to identify their suitability for implementation into aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly. To understand the potential benefits of these fixtures, an examination of the current academic practices and an evaluation of the existing industrial solutions is highlighted. The proposed adaptive assembly process was developed to account for the manufacturing induced dimensional variation that causes significant issues in aircraft wing assembly. To test the effectiveness of the adaptive assembly process, an aircraft wing assembly operation was replicated on a demonstrator test rig.
Journal Article

Reconfigurable Assembly System Design Methodology: A Wing Assembly Case Study

2015-09-15
2015-01-2594
Current assembly systems that deal with large, complex structures present a number of challenges with regard to improving operational performance. Specifically, aerospace assembly systems comprise a vast array of interrelated elements interacting in a myriad of ways, resulting in a deeply complex process that requires a multi-disciplined team of engineers. The current approach to ramp-up production rate involves building additional main assembly fixtures which require large investment and lead times up to 24 months. Within Airbus Operations Ltd there is a requirement to improve the capacity and flexibility of assembly systems, thereby reducing non-recurring costs and time-to-market. Recent trends to improve manufacturing agility advocate Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) as a viable solution. Yet, adding reconfigurability to assembly systems further increases both the operational and design complexity.
Technical Paper

Prediction of Automotive Air-Handling System Flow Noise Sound Quality Using Sub-System Measurements

2015-06-15
2015-01-2273
This paper presents the methodology of predicting vehicle level automotive air-handling system air-rush noise sound quality (SQ) using the sub-system level measurement. Measurement setup in both vehicle level and sub-system levels are described. To assess the air-rush noise SQ, both 1/3 octave band sound pressure level (SPL) and overall Zwicker's loudness are used. The “Sound Quality Correlation Functions (SQCF)” between sub-system level and vehicle level are developed for the specified climate control modes and vehicle segment defined by J.D. Power & Associates, while the Zwicker's loudness is calculated using the un-weighted predicted 1/3 octave band SPL. The predicting models are demonstrated in very good agreement with the measured data. The methodology is applied to the development of sub-system SQ requirement for upfront delivery of the optimum design to meet global customer satisfaction
Journal Article

Instrumentation, Acquisition and Data Processing Requirements for Accurate Combustion Noise Measurements

2015-06-15
2015-01-2284
The higher cylinder peak pressure and pressure rise rate of modern diesel and gasoline fueled engines tend to increase combustion noise while customers demand lower noise. The multiple degrees of freedom in engine control and calibration mean there is more scope to influence combustion noise but this must first be measured before it can be balanced with other attributes. An efficient means to realize this is to calculate combustion noise from the in-cylinder pressure measurements that are routinely acquired as part of the engine development process. This publication reviews the techniques required to ensure accurate and precise combustion noise measurements. First, the dynamic range must be maximized by using an analogue to digital converter with sufficient number of bits and selecting an appropriate range in the test equipment.
Journal Article

Quantifying Hands-Free Call Quality in an Automobile

2015-06-15
2015-01-2335
Hands-free phone use is the most utilized use case for vehicles equipped with infotainment systems with external microphones that support connection to phones and implement speech recognition. Critically then, achieving hands-free phone call quality in a vehicle is problematic due to the extremely noisy nature of the vehicle environment. Noise generated by wind, mechanical and structural, tire to road, passengers, engine/exhaust, HVAC air pressure and flow are all significant contributors and sources of noise. Other factors influencing the quality of the phone call include microphone placement, cabin acoustics, seat position of the talker, noise reduction of the hands-free system, etc. This paper describes the work done to develop procedures and metrics to quantify the effects that influence the hands-free phone call quality.
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