Path-Breaking Technologies

Issue: 3 / 2014By R. ChandrakanthPhoto(s): By Honeywell

Honeywell Aerospace is a global technology leader with 100 years of solid experience. Scientists and engineers of the company are working on different technologies in the realm of aviation and the international visiting media got a peek into some of the pathbreaking developments that are going on at various locations of Honeywell Aerospace.

Every year, Honeywell International holds a company-wide Technology Symposium where the engineering teams share their latest innovations with colleagues across all business units. For the first time, the company opened up its research work to a visiting international media, focusing presentations by audience target (pilot, passenger, maintenance/operations) and focus area (connected aircraft, safety, energy efficiency, cost to serve and easy/productivity under our Honeywell User Experience). These technologies are in the development phase and the next steps would be interaction with end-users and improvements on these technologies, before going in for commercialisation which the company hopes to bring about in the near future.

Ceramic Additive Manufacturing for Turbine Blades
Wil Baker, Principal Engineer, Advanced Technology, Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell is using ceramic additive manufacturing to fabricate casting cores for turbine blades and vanes in lieu of costly and complicated tooling. For example, we’ve successfully fabricated engine quality single crystal castings for the TFE731-60 1st blade which provided greatly improved efficiency and productivity.

Baker mentioned that presently casting of turbine airfoils would take about six months, but with ceramic additive manufacturing it can be done overnight. Rapid fabrication is the key here. It can do faster legacy upgrades and replacement of obsolete parts; mass customised prototyping for rainbow evaluations and importantly it would eliminate the need for tooling.

Low Thermal Conductivity Thermal BarrierCoatings
Miltortiz, Senior Manager, Advanced Technology, Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell developed an improved thermal barrier coating for turbine engine components with significantly lower thermal conductivity, best in class phase stability and fracture toughness, and unsurpassed life. This technology significantly improves engine power and reduces fuel consumption.

Miltortiz said that there is going to be a step change in thermal protection. Cooling is enabling technology and it would make the engine more efficient and burn less fuel. The benefits would be increased power and reduce fuel consumption for gas turbine engines; high fracture toughness; higher thermo stability; unsurpassed durability and lower total cost of ownership.

Ground Collision (Wing Tip)
Bob Champion, Research & Development Scientist, Advanced Technology, Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell is developing a technology to enhance safety for aircraft getting to and from the runway (terminal/taxi). Alerts will enable pilots to be aware of obstacles during push back or taxi.

It may be mentioned here that 115 on-ground aircraft collision involving 174 aircraft have been reported worldwide between 2005 and 2014. Today the research is looking at stationary objects. It is in the early stages of development and the next step, according to Bob Champion, is to talk to operators and improve technology development.

Additive Manufacturing
Donald Godfrey, Staff Engineer, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, Honeywell Aerospace Harry Zahn, Principal Engineer, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, Honeywell Aerospace

Additive Manufacturing is used to build parts that are associated with low volumes and complex geometries to increase prototype flexibility, optimizing designs, reducing development time and cost.Godfrey said that design for additive manufacturing can result in component weight reduction. The team is currently working on engine components. The division has connections with Bangalore where recently work on material development has commenced.

SWIM Air/Ground
Petr Gotthard, Technical Supervisor, Advanced Technology, Honeywell Aerospace

The development of the Connected Aircraft poses a challenge as there will be an increasing number of technical systems to maintain and protect. The system wide information management (SWIM) Air/Ground technology addresses these challenges by providing a single infrastructure capable of integrating many different applications.

Petr Gotthard said the technology would enhance situational awareness of the pilot. It would unify the language to use the same protocol for ground based systems; would have the latest IP links and have common infrastructure for communication.

The challenge he said was that internet based point solutions increase maintenance costs and security vulnerability of the asset. The solution, he mentioned, was enabling infrastructure and the technical benefits were huge – plug and play; operating cost reduction and security. All the communication would be managed from the aircraft. The project ends in 2016 and for it to go commercial, he said, it would be soon after, depending on clearances.

Wireless Applications
Vamsi Gundluru, Senior Marketing and Product Manager, Cockpit Systems, Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell along with our partners – Pilatus Aircraft, Jeppesen and Aspen Avionics – developed programmes to wirelessly upload databases and flight plans to avionics. The system will also provide an ability to wirelessly download maintenance information and enhance passenger experience by providing real-time moving maps to the cabin passengers. These wireless connectivity applications will greatly improve operational efficiency for pilots and operators.

Gundluru mentioned that with Ipad the team has deviced wireless gateway to connect to the avionics systems – flight management and flight path. It makes flying easier for pilots and also enhances passenger experience as it provides real-time data. Also the data can be used for maintenance and operations, thus reducing technical delays.

Enhancing Flight Management Systems with Honeywell User Experience
Gorsky, Director, Marking and Product Manager, Cockpit Systems, Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell is expanding our Flight Management Systems (FMS) offerings by incorporating Honeywell User Experience concepts and tools into designs to enhance the pilots’ user experience. Multiple opportunities have been identified that can significantly improve and simplify the pilots use of the FMS. Technological advances for user interface paradigms, voice recognition, tablet entry and display of the flight plan and more are in research and development. In the near future the prototypes will be expanded to include cross cultural needs.

Gorsky mentioned that research is currently on to evaluate prototypes that simplify the pilots’ FMs experience using speech, touch and gesture.

Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Induction Using Voice Recognition
Joe Stepanski, Senior Program Manager, Center of Excellence, Honeywell Aerospace

Speech recognition in aftermarket is one of several technologies in development in Honeywell Aerospace’s aftermarket repair & overhaul operations; the technology will support business improvements in delivery, quality, and Honeywell User Experience. Speech will allow hands free, voice-enabled data collection integrated with our Enterprise Resource Planning software. This project will allow mechanics, technicians and analysts alike to input data more efficiently while physically continuing work processes. Vocollect by Honeywell was chosen as a primary partner in this project to their extensive knowledge in speech recognition for warehousing, industry leading speech engine software and more.

Stepanski stated that the solution would provide enormous possibilities for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations. It is in the development phase and is likely to be introduced at the Sky Harbor airport facility in Phoenix. The Vocollect will be in multiple languages and will work across all products such as APU, avionics and the full spectrum of maintenance.