Joining Westland Helicopters Ltd. in 1975 as a researcher in aerodynamics and eventual Head of Future Projects, Dr. Ron Smith talks about faster helicopters and the future of rotorcraft in an interview with alternative aviation news site, Husk-Kit.
When asked about which effort to produce faster helicopters seems most promising, Smith thinks that it would be between Sikorsky’s designs and the tilt-rotor designs such as the AW609, or the Bell V-280 Valor. Smith explains that Sikorsky has, since the XH59A achieved max speeds of 274 mph in 1973, followed the ABC or Advancing Blade Concept which uses two contra-rotating rotors to maintain balance and auxiliary propulsion to achieve high speeds. Sikorsky found further success in 2008 when the X2 reached speeds of 290 mph, and in 2015 with the S-97 Raider, which boasts cruising speeds of 253 mph.
When asked about why helicopters seem to be limited at 200 mph, Smith explains that for safety and noise control, manufacturers tend to restrict the flight envelope to around 200 mph or less. Helicopter rotation is usually around 650-700ft/sec, and on the retreating side, local speeds get reduced and ultimately lead to blade stall and stall flutter, which can cause fatigue damage to the key helicopter rotors system components. While doing things such as adding an auxiliary wing and thrust devices can push the flight envelope to 250 mph, this creates a different configuration known as a compound helicopter.
And when asked about the future of tilt-rotors, Smith answers, the problem is not in the design or the success of tilt-rotors, but in whether they can be financed. Smith points out that the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor with Congressional backing and sufficient funds, still took 18 years between first flight and operational deployment.
This past week, Airbus Helicopters delivered the company’s two-hundredth H145 to Norsk Luftambulanse, also known as NOLAS. Norsk Luftambulanse, an air rescue operator, will utilize the H145 for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) in Norway. The delivery of this two-hundredth H145 is the last helicopter to complete NOLAS’ current order with Airbus. This brings their Airbus fleet to 8 H145s and 7 H135s. These helicopters are used to bring services to HEMS from different bases across Norway.
Even before Norsk Luftambulanse’s commencement as Norway’s national helicopter emergency medical services operator in June, the company will be the sole air ambulance operator to utilize a full Helionix-equipped fleet of both H135s and H145s. NOLA’s global H145 fleet has reached over 100,000 hours of flight since the helicopter’s entry into service in 2015. Babcock, the largest global operator for the H145, operates a fleet of thirty-one H145s for both HEMS and police missions. G-SASS, which is a H145 flown by Babcock for the Scottish Ambulance Service, leads the global fleet of H145 with over 2,500 hours of flight.
The H145 family, which also consists of the EC145 and BK117, has collected over five million flight hours with over 1,400 helicopters transported to this day. The H145 is known as the most advanced unit of Airbus Helicopters’, multi-use, twin-engine category. The H145 is the aircraft of choice for high intensity operations for a variety of different missions (like military and HEMS) for several reasons. It is compact in size, possess a large and flexible cabin while still being easily reconfigured, boasts the lowest maintenance costs in its class, and is fueled by powerful engines as well as the Helionix avionic suite with 4-axis autopilot.
For over 80 years according to Foreverbolts company founder Patrick Vogel, the company has yet to change the way they manufacture their bolts and have recently implemented a new change. Introducing what is known as the NL-19 configuration determined to enhance performance and longevity of the fastener. The fastener made its debut at the exclusive Grainger show that took place in Orlando. Foreverbolts wish to be able to present a better product for customers to come by stating,
“The NL-19 treatment modifies the surface of stainless steel fasteners in a way that increases their corrosion resistance by more than 7x. Not only were we successful in preventing corrosion but after treatment, the fasteners are 1.9% stronger. It’s nothing short of amazing!”
Apart of this innovate project Foreverbolt has learned to team up with Grainger to be able to bring each other’s resources to create such a highly demanded product. Grainger offers much of the same type of resources that Foreverbolt does, but also has materials to be able to mass produce items such as lighting, motors, plumbing, safety supplies along with other services such as technical support.
The versatility of the fastener allows it to be able to be placed in many types of industries. According to Foreverbolt the type of industries that it extends its welcoming of their fasteners are industries such as food processing, petroleum, home building, piers, bridges and roadways, automotive, marine, recreational equipment, aviation and water treatment.
Foreverbolts have been fully certified by ASTM B117 salt spray tests its results can be found the company’s website. Foreverbolt is very confident they are the qualified candidate for any fastener need. 30 years with extended knowledge in the engineering of the fasteners the company rest assures that they know the composition down to a science.
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Optimas Solution has found its new home becoming a part of Rosti Automotive Company. Both companies will benefit from the merger as Optimas has looked for a partnering company due to its increased production requirements. The automotive company wishes to focus on its specialized trade without having to decrease its quality of its work; all while increasing production to fulfill current requirements. Rosti is looking to restructure its entire system to be able to integrate the Optimas resources to create one cohesive system.
Both companies will benefit from the merging as they both will fulfill each other arising needs. Rosti requires many smaller components to be able to procure their premium parts and therefore will require an additional sourcing solution to become apart of their team. Optimas will take over the sourcing of additional parts while Rosti Automotive company continues to take control of it’s the essential functions of the company.
The on boarding company was ready to take on the task and had a plan ready to be implemented upon the beginning of the program while
“Providing one point of contact for all Rosti Automotive’s component concerns while also delivering the parts required. This resulted in the reduction of Pickering’s and Stamford Bridge’s suppliers. By simplifying the supply chain and creating a centralized point of contact – efficiency was increased from a component specification and logistics standpoint.”
Rosti has prime locations that have deemed the home of both companies’ integration project. These key facilities are in areas of the United Kingdom known as Stamford Bridge and Pickering. Optima’s is a world renown distributor of fasteners that can handle any size capacity with many different locations worldwide. Currently having nine different locations within the United Kingdom amongst vast locations worldwide.
Back in 2013 SKF Industries, a bearing company, acquired Cooper Roller Bearings Co Ltd and become their parent company. After several years it has finally been decided that all Cooper Split Bearing ranges will now be marketed under the name SKF cooper. The newly branded SKF cooper products will still fully support solutions for mining, quarrying, construction, marine, and energy sectors. The marketing channels for the products which includes, responses to customer enquiries, after-sales support, and product supply will all be handled on a global basis through SKF sales from this point forward.
SKF Cooper split roller bearings are some of the best and most efficient bearings on the market. The roller bearings can be fitted, removed and inspected all without having to remove the equipment that surrounds the bearing, allowing for cheaper costs in maintenance and faster turn around time. The SKF cooper product line includes both split double row and split cylindrical roller bearings. These two products allow for an axial load in either direction and are both sealed in swivel cartridges allowing for mounting. The cartridges conform into a surface and can be sealed to the axis, allowing for very little movement, unlike a ball and socket joint. This type of design allows for extremely close tolerances to occur between the shaft and the housing, a sealing performance that is hands down one of the best anti- friction bearings in the industry.
The two companies have come a long way since 1907, a year that is recognized as monuments for both Cooper and SKF. The famous split rolling element bearing was first patented, and the first self-aligning bearing was created. The joining of these two companies, along with the products they are producing is a combination that only ensures engineering excellence.
Svenska Kullagerfabriekn AB (SKF) was established in 1907 with headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Today, it is the largest bearing manufacturer in the world employing around 45,000 people in almost 110 units. Besides bearings, SKF produces and distributes : linear motion products, seals, lubrication systems, maintenance products and condition monitoring.
The first center in the world capable of testing big size industrial bearings is located in Schweinfurt, Germany established by SKF. The investment costed a total of 40 million Euro and it is called Sven Wingquist Test Center. The purpose of it is creating the development operations more productive for customers, additionally upgrading bearing performance and expanding service life.
A steel disc weighting more than 120 tons plays the most important role in the middle of the two original systems : one of the systems is intended for the experiment of wind turbine main tunnel display. On the other hand, the second system will operate on testing the bearings used in different industrial areas like mining, construction, steel manufacturing and marine transport.
When it comes to choosing the correct type of hoses for aircrafts or vehicles the quality is often over looked when presented with a great bargain. These types of situations are often the breaking point to a malfunction mid operation. The two most common hoses in the industry are either fabricated from rubber or Teflon. Both hoses have significant qualities that make each of them a better choice for precision type work.
Rubber has been a prime material for agile hoses on the market and used most aviation uses. Rubber Is most commonly used in small compartments that Teflon can’t reach. Rubber can with stand a higher PSI at 3000 and appose to PSI to Teflon that is only able to 1500. In being able to with stand these higher types of PSIs that aircrafts emit rubber hoses are most efficiently used in hydraulic type areas. Rubber is made with reinforcement material known as Buna N which is synthetic rubber or a combination that is known as HSP the main factor to be able to withstand higher temperatures.
On the other hand, Teflon is a better choice for different type of aviation components that aircrafts also utilize. Teflon is used for more commonly used for minimal type work. Teflon is a material that does not have a shelf life which is one of the main reasons why operators choose it. Although, Teflon has an unlimited shelf life it is advisable to be aware that it does not have unlimited “on- aircraft life.” What may be a common misconception with Teflon would be thinking that it will last forever but not all the material In the entire hose lasts forever. The Teflon hoses are reinforced with other materials to help it hold its shape while in use.
Aluminum has been a dominant presence in the Aerospace industry for the last half century. In the past ten years, industries outside of Aerospace have also turned to this metal. David Harris of ALFED states the reason is due to the many benefits of this miracle metal. It is very light, yet strong, and easily manipulated into other extrustions. Its resistance to corrosion is good, and it can be joined together through methods such as welding and adhesive bonding. Aluminum can be painted as well as anodized to create a wide variety of finishes that will help to upgrade appearance and further protect from corrosion. It is also an excellent electricity and heat conductor.
The wealthy individuals in the automotive industry, despite its many features, like aluminum because it is lightweight. The minimization of weight leads to greater energy efficiency and a better looking product overall. For example, well renown automotive company, Ford, boasts that one of their trucks that is equipped with an aluminum body is almost seven hundred pounds lighter than other models.
There are a handful of different methods to join aluminum together: there is welding, gluing, and soldering, just to name a few. The best way to join aluminum together using aerospace industrial nuts and bolts depends on the aluminum that is being used. Frida Cullin Persson, who is the project manager at Nord-Lock Group says that steel and stainless-steel bolts can both be used with aluminum. Persson however states that it is recommended for users to check what type of aluminum is being used as well as the environment it will be used in.
The use of aluminum bolts over steel is uncommon. It is more common for standardized steel fasteners to be used instead because they are cheaper and stronger. Because aluminum is easily deformed and is unable to withstand high pressures, users should think to reduce the load when aluminum parts are clamped together user steel fasteners. Another possibility to help distribute the load over a wider area is putting a washer underneath the bolt head, which will allow for a greater clamp load.
Optimas, a global distributor of fasteners and C- Class products, was recently awarded the Jaguar Land Rover Quality award. The highly prestigious award was presented to Optimas in recognition of their high quality of service and products to the luxury car company. Optimas focuses on supporting world class customers world-wide by delivering highly engineered fasteners for various needs.
Optimas has a global team that consists of 2 manufacturing locations, 1,600 employees and 68 distribution centers. The company has been around for decades, making them extreme experts in fastener solutions. Optimas’s partner, American Industrial Partners, has allowed Optimas to continue to advance their services, and thoroughly educate their team members. Optimas is constantly evolving to keep up with the demands of the modern world.
The quality award is only granted to suppliers who have continuously performed to an exceptional standard, a standard measured in every department of business function. For any business to qualify for this award they must meet top notch industry standards, be monitored and assessed on performance for over 6 months, and submit and official application with the directors of Jaguar Land Rover. Over the course of the 6 months, a company must prove that it is continuously working towards improvement, a trait that highly improves customer-supplier relationships.
Optimas, a company that started small, now produces over 1 billion fasteners to thousands of points of fit per a year. Their massive expansion is impressive, but their outstanding quality throughout it all is what led the company to achieve such a prestigious award. The desire to deliver excellence is the company’s entire heart of existence and it is thoroughly demonstrated throughout each move the company makes.