Preparing the future
Innovation is at the core of our strategy. We bring together customer needs and market trends and develop ambitious solutions allowing aircraft manufacturers to gain flexibility, reduce operating costs, and support sustainable development.
Safran Electrical & Power, the More Electric Aircraft revolution
Safran Electrical & Power is positioned in a breakthrough market with the conviction that in the medium term, everything that moves on a plane could be operated by an electric motor. The challenge is to migrate an increasing number of functions to electric and to replace hydraulic and pneumatic energy with electricity.
Therefore our Research and Technology programs are ambitious and are focused on new types of equipment, exploring new electrical solutions for the different phases of flight. The company pools its various resources and the full scope of its expertise to create new products that meet the needs of our customers.
Safran Electrical & Power combines distribution and wiring, which is unique in the market and promotes optimization of the energy chain on an aircraft.
David Hania, Vice President, Innovation and R&T.
Our coverage of the entire energy chain on board an airplane is unique. We design products at the forefront of technology and we have the ability to ensure their integration into aircraft systems by optimizing their overall weight, environmental footprint and configuration.
Safran Electrical & Power, the connectivity challenge
Building on our expertise in EWIS systems and beyond the distribution of power, Safran Electrical & Power also focuses on transport of data on board aircraft. Indeed, aircraft data management infrastructure is complex and changing, and our company explores technological opportunities to optimize it.
Our electrical harnesses carry aircraft systems' computer data. We are working on simplifying these exchange networks between different systems, taking into account issues of security, privacy and performance
Christophe De March, Technical Director of the EWIS Eurasia Division.
Safran Electrical & Power designs innovative products that cover all parts and optimizes the energy chain on board aircraft.
Electrical Power Generation
NEXT GEN VFSG: starter-generators for commercial aircraft engines
In collaboration with the power electronics team in France, the Research & Technology team in the United Kingdom is in the demonstration phase of a variable frequency generator with choke function (starter). With 90kVA of power, this starter-generator is a generic support for various demonstration programs, adapting to different types of commercial aircraft engines. "What we're calling the Next Gen VFSG will couple the starter and generator function in order to allow air or electric starters traditionally used on engines and APUs to be removed, as well as optimization of the engine start phase. In one of its applications, it will contribute reconfiguring and moving the Accessory Gear Box to the ‘Core' engine" explains Yann Tondriaux-Gautier, R&T program manager at Safran Electrical & Power. "This optimization process will help to refine the nacelle and thus improve its aerodynamic performance. The technologies studied in the Next Gen VFSG aim for sensible weight reduction and increased performance of the VFSG and optimizations surrounding installation and its associated systems, all to reduce fuel consumption and improve the reliability and robustness of our systems." The demonstrator is in the design phase and the first unit is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. "We will ensure that the starter-generator can quickly adapt to a power of 70 to 120kVA in order to cover more applications," Yann added.
The Smart Motor's purpose is to integrate power electronics directly into the electric engine, where previously electronics were not present. This design reduces the amount of wires and thus reduces cost and size while also simplifying installation. This solution is more competitive thanks to its many different uses. For example, an evaluation is being done on the extension/retraction/orientation system for the front landing gear.
Next Generation distribution
Safran Electrical & Power is working on the design and manufacturing of an electrical distribution cabinet that incorporates mountable power electronics (rack). So if one fails, just the damaged rack can be changed out instead of all of the equipment. "In line with our More Electric Aircraft strategy, we are also trying to design a cabinet that is easier to control, more compact, which includes the components (SSPCs, Circuit breakers, Contactors) that we manufacture in our factories and that is able to manage and better distribute power in a smaller product," explained Jérôme Mora, R&T Programs Director at Safran Electrical & Power.
ISS Power: optimize power electronics
With the ISS PWR project, the Safran Electrical & Power teams demonstrated their capabilities in designing the next generation of power electronics that allows aircraft manufacturers to carefully consider the development of the more electric aircraft. "Power electronics drive an aircraft's electrical equipment. Today, they require very heavy liquid cooling systems. ISS Power optimizes their performance, replacing the liquid cooling system with air, which significantly improves overall mass and reduces installation constraints," explained Jérôme Mora, R&T Programs Director at Safran Electrical & Power.
eCENTRIC, custom made for EWIS
The eCENTRIC project responds to increased electrical functions, sophistication of structures, composite appearance, and to the need to optimize the weight and reduce the energy consumption of the aircraft. "eCENTRIC is an equipped process that complements our existing business in defining EWIS, allowing us to cover its entire design cycle. We designed it and adapted it to our specific needs with our partner IGE-XAO, computer software developer and world leader in electrical CAD," explained Christophe Leguay, Process, Methods and Tools manager at Safran Electrical & Power. From the time the data is received from the customer until the delivery of a "Bill of Material" (BOM) that launches production, eCENTRIC is in charge of every stage and structures the design process for an aircraft's electrical interconnection system. It optimizes the electrical architecture of an aircraft to quickly incorporate the changes requested by the customer. It also improves cost monitoring and guarantees traceability. No data will be lost and those that are transmitted will have a universal format in order to interface with all existing design tools. It can therefore be used in any aircraft program.
ACE, to improve Insertion
The company also develops an Assistance and Monitoring System for Insertion (ACE) of cables into connectors, which combines augmented reality (with information display in real time on a synchronized video stream) and automatic image processing for spotting anomalies
A tool to prevent potential defect
Safran Electrical Power works on a tool that aims to find failures in electrical harnesses and help identify and locate electrical defects through the walls of the airplane by using a tablet. This technology can also detect and thus prevent potential defects in harnesses.
Integration and certification
COPPER Bird®: a unique test rig for use in research into the more electric aircraft
Safran Electrical & Power has designed and constructed a means of electrical systems integration dedicated to R&T activities: COPPER Bird®. It is currently available to Clean Sky program partners for which it has been officially selected, following the previous European programs (POA, MOET, MEGEVE).
COPPER bird® serves to validate innovative architectures and equipment designed by aircraft manufacturers and major aeronautical equipment manufacturers in the context of collaborative research into the more electric aircraft. It also allows for product demonstrations of Safran's own developments on this strategic axis. For example, COPPER bird® tests and validates power electronics, high-speed electrical machines and associated functions such as electric starting solutions, on board energy management, operating or anti-icing. COPPER bird® provides Safran teams and manufacturers with extraordinary means that are adapted to the constraints and innovations related to the more electric aircraft. It also will continue its testing campaigns as part of Clean Sky 2, which is expected to begin activity in COPPER Bird® in 2016.
Innovation by the numbers
Innovation and Safran
Innovation and Safran: technological excellence and a state of mind
Innovation is central to Safran. An essential component of competitiveness, innovation allows us to offer excellent products in each of the Group's business areas (aeronautics, space, defense, security) while reducing development time and cost. Innovation is also contributing to making air transport more environmentally friendly, safer, and easier in daily life. For this, Safran relies upon major financial resources, substantial numbers in Research & Development (R&D) and ultra-modern research centers. Lastly, innovation is a mindset that is manifested by sharing expertise through numerous partnerships and through a vibrant and successful participatory approach.
Safran Electrical & Power, Safran innovations partner
With Safran Electronics & Defense and Safran Landing Systems for power converters
Safran Electrical & Power participates in the Actuation 2015 project, notably in partnership with Safran Landing Systems and Safran Electronics & Defense, which allowed our teams to develop an electric braking unit from modular subassemblies. "We are integrating the Safran Electronics & Defense control card into those that we are developing in a clean way, such as the power board, the switching devices and the filters," explained Jérôme Mora, R&T Programs Director at Safran Electrical & Power. "The objective is to design compact housing that incorporates standardized technological components such as the control card and the hybrid power module that could apply to other functions such as brake systems or flight controls, for example," he added.
An innovation network
Safran Electrical & Power receives research funds granted by national and international public bodies and ambitious partnerships forged in the field of the more electric aircraft.
Partners with CORAC, the Council for Civil Aeronautics Research (French Conseil pour la Recherche Aéronautique Civile), our teams work on the GENOME, Optimized Management of Energy program (GEstioN OptiMisée de l'Energie), for example, and with aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Dassault develop distribution cabinets, power electronics, generators and "next generation" test benches.
Our English teams are supported by the British government through Innovate UK and UK ATI (Aerospace Technology Institute) that oversee and fund programs in development and electric motors. Safran Electrical & Power works in partnership with universities on projects such as PEICAP (Power Electronic Inverters & CAPacitors) and AEMTA (Advanced Electrical Machines Technologies for Aircraft).
Lastly, the company is committed to the European program Clean Sky, in particular with electrical distribution projects and with Copper Bird®.
Safran Electrical & Power partners with start-ups
Safran Electrical & Power has started to collaborate with start-ups on innovative technologies. The goal is to rapidly integrate new digital technology into its commercial offerings and facilities. And so, the company started collaborating with three start-ups on patented technology: DIOTA for augmented reality, WiN MS for reflectometry and BrainChip for image processing.
Safran Electrical & Power is forging academic partnerships with a large number of university research laboratories.
- In France: Toulouse (Supaero, Isae), Lille, Lyon (IPES - Intégration de Puissance en Environnement Sévère; Ampère* laboratory group), Grenoble (CEA Tech).
- In England: Oxford (University of Oxford), Newcastle (University of Newcastle and Teesside University), Bristol (University of Bristol)
- In the United States: CPES Virginia Tech
- In India: Bangalore (with the People's Education Society University -PESU- and the creation of the Research and Innovation Center - CORI [Centre de Recherche et d'Innovation])