CATT

Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing

Success Stories

Jet Fuel Icing Simulation and Characterization Phase 2

October 8, 2019

The Opportunity

SCADA screenshot

Ice formation within aircraft fuel systems has been the subject of research studies, especially in the last decade, with a number of industry-academic projects sourced in the USA and Europe. RRC’s TACAM has engaged in various stages of jet fuel icing research under two project agreements with MDS and EnviroTREC (also representing their OEM partners: Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce) since 2013. During the course of these two projects many tasks were performed, such as literature survey; lab-scale experimentation of ice formation in fuel; design, set-up and initiation of a sub-scale fuel rig; integration of water sensor with fuel rig and proDAS system to capture new data. Throughout these investigations, limitations of equipment (instrumentation, physical components of the rig, and computer operating systems) have been identified. With the goal of improving accuracy of test conditions and repeatability of data, work scope of Phase 2 was determined.

Rig set-up

The Approach

The project team’s primary focus was on increased instrumentation, refinement of systems control and improved data acquisition capability. The fuel rig was entirely redesigned to provide consistent flow and temperature control, including incorporation of heat exchanger and a circulating bath with improved cooling range. Discrete experiments measuring parts per million water content within temperature ranges of -20°C ≤ T ≤ 20°C at a constant flow rate were then conducted to assess performance capability of the new system.

The Outcomes

A controllable recirculating fuel rig capable of achieving repeatable temperature set points, and flow rate of interest. Improved instrumentation capability for conducting experiments to understand temperature-dependent changes in water content in Jet A1 fuel.

The Benefits

MDS Pro-DAS system

• Availability of instrumentation and lab-scale setup for ice crystals characterization in jet fuels.

• Provision of empirical data on the behavior of unadulterated fuel exposed to extreme temperature differential

Testimonial

“The Red River College team has successfully developed a unique capability to study, characterize and control ice formation in aircraft fuel systems. This experimental capability offers us the opportunity to investigate the effects of ice formation in fuels under a variety of concentrations and temperatures thus leading to safer, more efficient fuel systems.”

– David Simpson, Executive Director, EnviroTREC

 

Collaborators

Trouble-shooting Surface Mount Technology for Printed Circuit Boards: Parker Hannifin

June 10, 2019

 The Opportunity 

Equipment set-up at Parker Hannifin

Parker Hannifin uses the surface mount technology (SMT) for circuit board assembly. Hundreds of parts are picked and placed in a matter of seconds. Defects such as missing and wrong orientation of parts were being observed during final quality inspection/testing. These defects mostly occur in chips about 3 x 1 x 1 mm in size and are usually undetected by automatic inspection techniques built into the production process, resulting in lengthy rework or outright scrapping of the parts. 

The Approach 

RRC’s expertise in high speed imaging was leveraged by Parker Hannifin to study and determine the root cause of the assembly defects. The “pick and place” processes were studied, using in-production and off-production simulated circuit boards. Large imaging data were analyzed to determine the problem. 

The Outcomes

A closer look at the SMT process

As observed by high-speed imaging, the root cause of the assembly defects is the flipping and “misorientation” of parts in the pockets of unnoticeably faulty twin-tape part feeders. These feeders were isolated for repair/replacement. 

The Benefits 

• Flexible and responsive access to emerging technology and technical expertise with reduced cost to Parker Hannifin 

• Determination of the root-cause of a problem that disrupts / halts production activities 

Testimonial

Part missing due to dislodgment

 “Collaboration with RRC was instrumental in finding the true root cause of our “pick” issue. Finding and correcting the root cause gave us a significant step improvement in quality and productivity” 

— Bob Dann, Technical Services Manager 

Collaborator

Performance Optimization of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines in the Prairies: Kelso Energy LTD.

June 10, 2019

 The Opportunity 

Kelso Energy LTD. manufactures vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) that meet the electricity demands of cellphone towers, isolated communities, research centres, agricultural farms, cottages, ranches, and many other unique applications. Operational efficiency of the VAWT requires performance optimization, which is difficult to achieve by field-testing and trial & error approaches. Kelso also experiences significant fabrication problems including inconsistent product quality, longer fabrication times, and laborious design modifications due to lack of a standardized design blueprint. 

CFD data and flow field

The Approach 

Performance optimization of VAWTs is a fluid flow problem, which is usually difficult to replicate using small-scale prototypes in laboratory environments. Kelso collaborated with TACAM on (1) the 3D CAD modeling to create a blueprint, and (2) analyzing various materials-design-fluid flow parameters for performance optimization of the VAWT, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). 

The Outcomes 

TACAM delivered a complete blueprint of the 5 kW VAWT to Kelso Energy in Fall 2017 and delivered final optimized design developed using results from CFD in January 2018. Kelso Energy is currently fabricating the VAWT based on the designs submitted as part of this project. 

The Benefits 

  • Availability of standardized blueprint for product performance analysis and improvement 
  • Significant cost savings of product performance improvement

    Installation of Kelso’s Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Testimonial 

Kelso Energy was very pleased with the professionalism of the Technology Access Centre team. The CFD work and the completed blueprints helped in moving our company forward in performance and promotion of the turbines. Kelso realized a significant increase in the overall power output of the VAWT. This work provided Kelso with a uniform and easy-to-understand set of blueprints used for production and bidding process for components. We realized increased sales and ROI.”

Collaborators

 

Building Stronger Bonds in New Sensors: iders

June 10, 2019

 The Opportunity 

Developing robust sensors for harsh environments requires innovation and the opportunity to access emerging technology. Iders Incorporated is developing a new device for measuring structural distortions in rail lines. Fabrication of the device requires the use of advanced welding or joining processes to support dissimilar metal bonds.

Building robust sensors for rail safety

The Approach 

A custom procedure based upon micro-laser welding was developed for fabricating the device. RRC contributed expertise in laser processing of materials and provided direct access to the right laser technology at the CATT Centre. 

The Outcomes 

A number of unique micro laser joints which meet the required performance characteristics were produced in the sensor assembly. Subsequently, several assemblies were fabricated at the CATT Centre as part of Iders pre-production prototyping and field testing programs 

The Benefits 

• Flexible and responsive access to emerging technology and technical expertise for the project 

• Reduced cost for process development – absolutely no initial capital cost to Iders 

• Fabrication of new sensor prototypes without disrupting regular production 

Testimonial

Micro-laser welding to support new sensor development

“RRC’s expertise and capabilities through the CATT Centre allowed us to overcome a significant materials and fabrication problem associated with an advanced sensor we are trying to bring to market. Our technical problem was solved, quickly and efficiently.” 

— David Fletcher, VP and COO, iders 

Collaborator:

Robotic End-of-Arm Tooling for Specific Load Application on Medical Sensor Mats: Vista Medical

May 16, 2019

The Opportunity

 Vista Medical manufactures pressure sensors in the form of fabrics and mats for the medical and sports industries. In the case of hospital beds, Vista’s pressure fabrics can help to identify uncomfortable parts of a patient’s body through pressure maps. The pressure maps can then be used to redistribute pressures on the bed for attaining the required comfort level. Vista uses a pressure table connected to a computer software for calibration and pressure verification, where load application is done manually. Vista collaborated with TACAM to develop a robotic solution.

TACAM staff assembling the robotic tooling system

The Approach

 A tool system to be used for specific load application on Vista’s sensor mat was designed, fabricated and integrated with the UR10 collaborative robot. This work included 3D CAD design of the end-of-arm tool, tool fabrication and integration, implementation of a load measurement device and testing of the tool at Vista Medical.

The Outcomes

A prototype robotic tool was developed to address the problem of lack of accurate predetermined loads on Vista’s verification system.

The Benefits

  • Improvement in accuracy of calibration and verification process for Medical sensor mats
  • Efficient and reliable product design and testing

Testimonial

 “RRC Team understood the mechanism of the pressure sensor array and was prompt in developing the proof of concept to demonstrate what could be accomplished by using Universal COBOT, an important step in moving forward with automating verification system. “

—Ashok Dhawan P.Eng, Engineering Manager

The project team

Collaborators:

 

 

With support from:

 

Building Repair Welding Capability for MRO Services – CARIC DPHM 711

May 14, 2019

The Opportunity

Selected figures from the DPHM 711 project

At TRL levels 4-6, the CARIC DPHM 711 was a multi-party, 2.5 year-long, $1.4M project. The objective was to determine the suitability of select advanced welding technologies for the repair of Al and Mg alloys for applications in the repair of fan frames, fan cases, and gearbox housing.

Comprehensive research including process development and optimization, metallurgical analysis, and standardized testing efforts was conducted to address the welding challenges leading to quality problems in selected aerospace Al and Mg alloys.

The Approach

CMT and Laser equipment set up and training of key technical staff, initial experimentation to establish process parameter, design of experiment (DOE) and statistical analysis, process optimization, metallurgical, mechanical and corrosion evaluation, and simulated weld repair demonstrations were performed on scrap gearbox housing and engine case.

The Outcomes

Following a comprehensive study, DOE, process optimization, iterative experimentation, quality evaluations, microstructure analysis, mechanical tests, and corrosion studies, simulated weld repair demonstrations were performed on scrap gearbox housing and engine case. 

The Benefits

  • Generation of new innovative processes
  • Improvement in competitiveness and unique MRO services
  • Expanding the frontiers of knowledge in advanced welding

Testimonial

Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) welding in operation

“The DPHM 711 project was StandardAero’s first foray into a CARIC research project. We had a very successful partnership with Red River College and the other project collaborators. The project results will be used for both research reference and strategic repair development planning – allowing us to position ourselves as a market leader in MRO activities.”

— Andrew Harvey C.E.T., Manager, Repair Development Engineering, StandardAero Component Services – Canada

Collaborators