Proof in the Numbers
The testing process actually began several years ago. A four-hour flight test was conducted in 2004 with sponsorship and oversight from the USAF Air Mobility Battlelab and engineering support from the Robins Air Force Base C-130 System Program Office (330th ASG). The demonstration began with the installation of an IPBS on a 54H60-91 Hamilton Sundstrand propeller system. Several typical flight profiles were conducted with the support of the 339th Flight Test Squadron of Warner Robins Air Force Base, Ga. Although vibration levels varied throughout the power spectrum on the 54H60-91 propeller, once activated, the IPBS proved it could maintain vibration levels at approximately 10 to 20 times less than any condition between thrust reverse (-6,000 inches-pounds torque) and maximum power (18,600- inches-pounds torque). Throughout this operating range, the required balance corrections varied in both amplitude and in angular position. In addition, the performance of the IPBS was unaffected by ambient air temperature from ground to 20,000-feet. The data gathered demonstrated that the IPBS is capable of performing required corrections automatically and reliably, with no additional workload for the flight crew.
In 2009, LORD Corporation flight tested the system on four propellers at Kirtland AFB. The system performed at expected control levels throughout the flight profile and vibration on all four engines was reduced to
According to Manna, the 2009 and 2011 tests both demonstrated that the EM-IPBS concept is a robust in-flight system for turboprop aircraft that should produce significant operations and support savings, realized by eliminating the lengthy maintenance actions required to periodically balance propellers per the requirements. "The reduced maintenance also will increase readiness by returning aircraft to the operational squadron earlier. Further, the large reduction in propeller vibration should provide a significant decrease in the maintenance cost of engine, gearbox and airframe mounted equipment."
The high level of predictive maintenance afforded by IPBS also can be used to provide Prognostic Health Management (PHM) and diagnostics information to maintenance crews, said Manna. Since the system results in less fatigue for both on-engine and on-board equipment, as well as lower failure rates, DOCs are reduced. In fact, Manna estimates that the IPBS will save the USAF approximately $340 million over the life of the system.
"The IPBS has been proven to provide the smoothest and most reliable propeller operation across the entire power spectrum," said Kris Burson, LORD Corporation Americas Marketing Manager, Aerospace & Defense. "In addition to lowering operating and sustainment costs, the system will reduce aircraft downtime due to maintenance and therefore increase aircraft availability."
Funding for this testing contract ($2 million) was sponsored by U.S. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA). In a press release announcing the funding, Senator Specter said, "I am pleased that my colleagues have recognized the valuable contribution these projects will make to our nation's defense. Pennsylvania is a top competitor for defense projects that create jobs and strengthen our economy and these funds will go far in supporting the brave men and women who serve our country."
"The projects will play an important role in strengthening our nation's military readiness and promoting job creation in Pennsylvania," said Senator Casey. "I am pleased that my colleagues have approved this important funding to improve Pennsylvania's military installations and strengthen our nation's defense."
With headquarters in Cary, N.C., and sales in excess of $720-MM, LORD Corporation is a privately-held company that designs, manufactures and markets devices and systems to manage mechanical motion and control noise and vibration; formulates, produces and sells general purpose and specialty adhesives and coatings; and develops products and systems utilizing magnetically responsive technologies. With manufacturing in nine countries and offices in more than 15 major business centers, LORD Corporation employs more than 2,700 worldwide. Visit www.lord.com for more information.
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SOURCE LORD Corporation
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