Since the largest fluid system in any aircraft is typically its fuel system, then it stands to reason that the design of fuel pumps needs to be continually evaluated and optimized. Aircraft manufacturers need to explore all possible advances in manufacturing, materials, and health monitoring to help aircraft operators capitalize on greater efficiency, weight savings, longer life, and reduced costs. As a leading manufacturer of aircraft fuel boost and transfer pumps, Parker Aerospace has its pulse on probabilistic design and conceptual methods that may offer systematic gains to stakeholders in the commercial and military aviation markets.
Application of additive manufacturing
Additive manufacturing already has a role in the aerospace industry as a rapid prototyping technology, enabling manufacturers to save time and cost during product development. Three-dimensional printed components allow Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division to build pumps with fewer parts and get them to the test stand quicker. Lessons learned in the prototyping phase can affect product design, manufacturing, assembly, and aftermarket repair.
This same technology is also being applied to finished aircraft components. Understanding the opportunities that additive manufacturing provides, Parker is evaluating the role it will play in the design and manufacture of its next generation of fuel pumps.
Application of composite materials
Composite materials are making inroads toward providing weight and cost savings for aircraft manufacturers. In fact, the use of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) can reduce fuel pump weight by as much as 20 percent. Parker R&D teams are examining the use of composites for its fuel pumps, working toward achieving the optimal balance of weight savings and long life while carefully ensuring product quality and performance.
Prognostics health monitoring (PHM)
To provide operators with greater aircraft availability and reduced downtime due to the untimely removal of equipment, prognostic health monitoring is being incorporated into aircraft systems. PHM uses integrated sensors to relay component health data to users, informing them of system and component conditions. Parker understands the benefit this technology can bring to operators and is looking at opportunities to integrate this value-added feature in its products of the future.
Current entry-into-service programs
Parker’s fuel boost and transfer pumps have been selected by Airbus for use in its A350 aircraft and by COMAC for its C919 aircraft. In addition, the Fluid Systems Division is working to provide significant bill of materials, including fuel system, fuel boost and transfer pumps on several large aircraft programs slotted for entry into service over the next decade.
To learn more about our aircraft fuel pumps, please visit our website.
This blog was contributed by the Aerospace Technology Team, Parker Fluid Systems Division.