State of the Art – Background

The All-Electric Aircraft is a major target for the next generation of aircraft and helicopters to lower consumption of non - propulsive power and thus fuel burn. Compared to hydraulic and pneumatic systems, electrical actuators need to be powered only when they are used and the power supply is less subject to losses and lighter to distribute.

The All-Electric Aircraft is consequently a key means to achieve ACARE 2020 objectives at the systems level if current technological, economical and reliability barriers (i.e. electronics) can be resolved.

A key challenge in this process to be addressed by the ACTUATION2015 project is to make available Electro Mechanical Actuators (EMA) made of standardised modules, that can replace or eliminate costly-to-maintain, heavy and energy consuming hydraulic circuits and actuators. Providing such EMAs will address current airframers requirements regarding cost and weight and allow these airframers to adopt the technology. ACTUATION2015 will innovate through:

  • Modularity: move from custom made actuators to actuators made from standard off-the-shelves modules and implemented using a standardised design process and a common validation method and tools
  • Module sharing: design electric actuation functions as parts of a global aircraft electrical architecture and not as single and independent functions to share modules, support redundancy and save weight addressing actuation functions at an aircraft level and not at an equipment level
  • Standardisation: identify and specify a set of EMA building blocks (modules) that can be standardised and thereby facilitate multiple sources of module supply and lower EMA certification and acquisition cost