In 2013 Future Advanced Manufacture was part of an EU collaboration to develop an idea of a new business jet wing designed to reduce noise and increase fuel efficiency. The collaboration had created conceptual aerodynamic designs of laminar flow wings, but in order to prove the concept they needed a technically complex prototype to be built, fit for wind tunnel testing in The Netherlands. So began a collaboration involving companies from the UK, France, Romania and The Netherlands.
This project highlights the type of challenging, complex, high integrity work that Future AM excels in, supporting the world’s best engineers and designers and turning their ideas, concepts and designs into highly engineered prototypes.
Future Advanced Manufacture produced a detailed technical proposal and quotation for building a quarter scale 1.3 ton, 5.4m wingspan model of a fully-instrumented wing capable of capturing vital data from wind tunnel testing.
Future’s highly skilled Design Department set about designing a complex, fully-instrumented wing set, capable of super manoeuvrability across its control surfaces, whilst maintaining the ability to receive air pressure readings from over 250 pressure tappings.
State of the art, analytical, design software was used to analyse each element and establish the correct selection of raw materials to ensure the final prototype was capable of withstanding the high loads it would be subject to in the wind tunnel.
After establishing the correct material requirements, Future Advanced Manufacture’s supply chain team acquired the fully-certified material from one of its many approved suppliers.
A suite of technical drawings was then produced from the cad data to ensure the most exacting tolerances were achieved, allowing the complex components to be assembled as efficiently as possible.
The raw material was then loaded onto one of Future’s high-end machine tools, capable of full simultaneous 5-axis machining up to 3m in length. Not many companies can absorb this type of work, the wing had more than 100 complex high integrity parts, but our significant investment in CNC equipment and highly-skilled, advanced programming engineers, means we can.
Following final machining on CNC machines, which can take up to 4 months for one component due to the size and complexity of this one off assembly, the wing was vigorously inspected using the latest advanced metrology hardware and software. Future Advanced Manufacture’s state of the art 5-axis scanning head technology can inspect aerodynamic profiles to tolerances of +/- 0.02mm . Inspection reports can be tailored to suit each individual customer’s requirements.
After confirming the accuracy of the wing’s profile and components, each part was non-destructive tested in Future’s laboratory using Magnetic Particle Inspection, Acid Etch Inspection and, in this case, Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection. This ensures the integrity of the material following the machining process.
Future Advanced Manufacture’s specialist integration team were then tasked with completing the assembly and finishing process to ensure the model was supplied able to adapt to multiple configurations, whilst maintaining a smooth step-free aerodynamic shape.
Highly complex integration of hypodermic pressure tubes and multiple valve couplings was meticulously carried out. Precise tube mapping was required so that more than 250 sensors could be fed down the length of the wing, without jeopardising the ability to measure air pressure in a wind tunnel environment.
Finally the assembly was professionally boxed and packaged ready for shipping to Europe in one of the company’s designated vehicles or if preferred, by courier.
The wind tunnel test took place in December 2014 in the Large Low speed Facility (LLF) of German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (DNW) in Marknesse, the Netherlands. The test preparation, including model assembly and nacelle and sensor calibration, was performed during a five week period in the Netherlands. The testing was to measure both aerodynamic and acoustic data.
The aerodynamic and acoustic wind tunnel tests were very successful and all the objectives and measurements were accomplished within budget.
This is just an example of one of the many projects Future Advanced Manufacture has been involved with during recent years.
In this instance we supported the evolution of an idea, but we can also take both simple and highly complex components from concept through to full production, or manufacture existing designs direct to drawing.
Whether you’re looking for the manufacture of a prototype, or high quality, scalable production, Future Advanced Manufacture is here to support you.