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Hybrid Laminar Fluid Control 4.0

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HLFC 4.0 (Hybrid Laminar Fluid Control 4.0)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-03-31

Aircraft manufacturers are continuously seeking for decreasing their CO2 emissions and trying to make flights more efficient and eco friendly. As part of this searching one major warhorse is the drag reduction during flight; this drag reduction techniques involve, among others, the development of systems to avoid the undesired aerodynamic effects. One of this systems is the Laminar Flow Control LFC, where Hybrid Laminar Flow Control (HLFC) is included.

. The use of HLFC (Hybrid Laminar Flow Control) systems is an important advantage that will improve the aerodynamic efficiency of flights significantly. Either using passive or active solutions many challenges have been tackled and demonstrators have been developed in the past. The objective for this project is the investigation, detailed design and manufacturing of the most integrative piping solution regarding the hybrid laminar flow control systems, either active and/or passive (the best solution could include one or both systems).

. To be able to assembly the HLFC systems to the leading edge of the wing complex tools should be developed in order to obtain aeronautic standards in terms of tolerances and geometry accuracy. Sensorization of complex tooling is a technique that allows to monitor the complete process of assembly ensuring that the process is being done in the proper way or, if not, understanding what is happening and enabling corrective actions. The objective for this project is to design an assembly means capable of monitoring and dynamically relaying information about the precision of alignment and accumulated stress to technicians during the assembly process. Development of an innovative multifunctional tool capable of integrating the piping solutions and wing structure using advanced sensors regarding the monitoring of the key parameters during the assembly operations, enabling a real-time manufacturing feedback to the operators with augmented reality methods.

. Other objective is to use innovative technologies like additive manufacturing in the entire process (DfAM), increasing the impact of these technologies in the industrial sector. Several tradeoffs will be made with different materials and technologies to choose the most appropriate, after designing, manufacturing and testing specimens with different materials. The materials to be analyzed will be various polyamides and technologies can be FDM or SLS.
The total scope of this project will cover the detailed design, manufacturing, validation and testing.

From the beginning of the project until today, the following phases have been completed:

1. Concurrency engineering meetings and requirements collection with the TM and members of consortium to establish the basis of the requirements and the final aim of the design of the tooling and suction system.
2. Several tradeoffs for innovative sensorization and HLFC active and passive system.
3. Definition of the manufacturing technologies, integration aspects and material selections
4. Design, manufacturing and testing of coupons for material selections in ADATICA facilities.
5. Detailed design of the active suction system.
6. Design of the drain system.
7. Design and manufacturing of pressure and tightness testing tool.
8. Design of drilling templates using new manufacturing technologies.
9. Design of the assembly tooling, accessories, mounting and handling jigs.
10. Assembly plan, auxiliary tooling and basic design solutions were initiated (GBD stand, spar positioning, ribs positioning and verification).
11. Work is starting on the design of force sensing and measurement solutions for the skin positioning tool.
12. Project management and periodic review meetings.
13. Within the tasks of communication and dissemination, generation of the project web page (website under construction) and inclusion of news related to the project, within the web pages of the members of the consortium.

Special situation due to Covid-19 world pandemic has caused a delay in the HLFC4.0 project.
After the completion of this first period of the project, we can make some conclusions regarding the results expected when the project was started.

The validation of parts produced by additive manufacturing technology will contribute to the development and implementation in the aeronautical sector. The expected growth of the aeronautical market and the requirement to reduce weight, improve performance and increase security will raise the demand of additive manufacturing structures, with all the drag reduction and efficiency improvements that could be directly translated into a huge reduction in CO2 emissions.

Regarding the developmento of standard methodologies of tools sensorization for industry 4.0 the final results will also contribute to the implementation of this assembly system. The needs for more efficiency methods of manufacturing is needed and so on the use of sophisticated sensorization systems is the perfect ally to achieve more efficiency and less waste material, parts and time.

Due to the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak, the future of the aeronautical sector could be affected, causing the growth forecasts of the sector to be corrected downwards. In any case, the benefit of the project would continue to exist, even if in a lower proportion, due to a lower growth of the sector.
Active Suction System Concept
Compressor for active suction system
Tooling assembly concept