New Technologies

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New skills and a fast-disruptive mindset

In the aviation industry, investments in research and development are a key factor in enabling a company to consolidate its competitive position at the highest levels.

Avio Aero has dedicated increasing resources into the research, development and innovation of products and processes, also in collaboration with national institutions, such as the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research Centres, Regional development centres , Technological Districts, the CTNA (National Aerospace Technology Cluster) and through important international collaborations. Europe is on the forefront with the European Green Deal and is called to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Engineers and researchers at Avio Aero are naturally engaged to apply the top-notch technologies and big data aimed at developing the engine modules and systems for a sustainable tomorrow with reduced environmental impact and lean compelling processes. In order to enhance innovation, collaborations with the research network have been strengthened by implementing a network collaboration model between the main European universities and research centres, creating the "European Technology Development Clusters".

Today, we need new competencies and a fast disruptive mindset to think outside the box.


New Technologies: overview

Next Gen & Narrow Body

Power transmission modules and turbines for innovative engine architectures
Air transport will continue to play an important role in connecting cities and people and to keep being on the leading-edge main aeronautical players have to keep investing in innovations on materials and new architectures. In continuity with the European projects SAGE 2 and SAGE 4 and Large Passenger Aircraft, ENGINE-UHPE of Clean Sky 2 Avio Aero has confirmed its strategic position in Europe in the development of power transmission modules and turbines for innovative engine architectures with a high By-pass ratio. These programs, together with other national initiatives and Horizon 2020, represent a fundamental element of the technological maturation of new architectures for the next generation of propulsion in the Narrow Body sector. Avio Aero is involved in the study of innovative engine architectures for NGNB (Next Gen Narrow Body) aircraft. In particular, within LPA project key architectures and technologies related to the low pressure turbine are being developed, while in ENGINE project Avio Aero is developing technologies and architecture for the gearboxes and its integration within the new NGNB architectures.


Technological improvements and multidisciplinary knowledge for high performance
Despite the importance of this growing market, air-framers and operators complain about the lack of technological innovation in turboprop engines. Avio Aero - in this contest - responded by continuing its role as leader in the Clean Sky 2 framework with the MAESTRO project, aimed at validating a series of technological improvements with a high content of technical innovations. The goal is to insert them into a virtual demonstrator for Small Turboprop but also ensuring their subsequent implementation in engines developed by GE Aviation in Europe, such as the new Catalyst, the first application of the disruptive innovations derived from this European project. In the same segment, the SICO project focuses on the development of an innovative control system. The goal is the acquisition of multidisciplinary knowledge for the creation of a global control system for aircraft engines, characterized by high performance and low emissions.


New configurations using diffused hybrid propulsion system
The aviation sector is committed to reduce CO2 emissions through innovation. The goal is to bring a decisive contribution towards a climate-neutral Europe in line with the European Commission's Green Deal.To work on these objectives, Avio Aero participates in various research projects that focus on hybrid propulsion. Among these, the IRON project (Innovative turbopROp configuratioN) is certainly worth mentioning, which envisages studies of a traditional engine configuration, and also of an innovative engine configuration (Unducted Single Fan), for regional aircraft applications, aiming at a new configuration using a diffused hybrid propulsion system. Il The IMOTHEP (Investigation and Maturation Of Technologies for Hybrid Electric Propulsion) project has the objective of assessing the actual potential offered by the hybrid electric propulsion (HEP, Hybrid Electric Propulsion) and carries out an in-depth investigation on electric technologies for hybrid electric aircraft in close connection with the most advanced aircraft configurations and innovative propulsion architectures.


From a strong heritage to a brilliant future in design and production of helicopter's gearboxes
Soon World's population will be mostly located in urban areas meaning that there will be a strong need for innovative mobility platforms. This is one of the reasons why Avio Aero, also due to the strong heritage in design and production of helicopter's gearboxes, decided to enter the partnership on the RACER – a project developed by lead by Airbus Helicopter - developing the Main Gear Box for this innovative Compound Helicopter configuration. It is an innovative, high-speed helicopter prototype, aimed at demonstrating the innovative architecture and enabling improved door-to-door mobility, environment protection and citizens health and safety. The Helicopter will also fly thanks to the other two gearboxes designed and built by Avio Aero: the Lateral Gear Boxes, which connect the two lateral propellers, and the High Speed Input Stages which are the first reduction stage of the two engines. It is on these paramount modules that Avio Aero concentrated the technological development of some key technologies for the helicopter transmissions of the future. Avio Aero's innovative effort focuses on materials for high-performance gears and bearings, but also on components of the lub system and cooling system made in Additive Manufacturing. These components, conceived by the Avio Aero designers exploiting the enormous potential offered by this technology, are printed at the TAL laboratory at the Turin Polytechnic. Connected to this project also I-GEAR (Intelligent Gearbox for Endurance Advanced Rotorcraft) with the objective to produce an Health Monitoring System of innovative gears and bearings for the lateral gearboxes of the RACER.

Additive Manufacturing

From specific "design for additive" to large components production
3D Printing has a great impact on the manufacturing world. Parts can be produced faster, with less material waste, reducing machining time, shortening time-to-market. But those are just some benefits. Avio Aero is partnering in Italy and Europe on many projects to achieve the best results from this amazing technology: the SOPRANO project aims at improving the design for future low-emissions combustors and enhance the criteria for effusion cooling. But Avio Aero is also partnering on the SIAAD project, Industria 4.0 and STAMP. From specific "design for additive" to large components production: leading edge technologies are the heart of the aeroengine of the future.


The connection between physical and digital systems
In an increasingly connected and dynamic society it is essential to invest in digital technologies to make processes and tools more interconnected and faster. Avio Aero decided to invest in this sector, thanks to the research projects launched in recent years like Industry 4.0, for the connection between physical and digital systems, the digital transformation of design processes, the virtual manufacturing, complex analyzes through Big Data and real-time adaptations. Also other projects contribute to the digital development of the company: LEXIS aims at reducing the operating time of the simulation of aeronautical products improving engineering productivity and the quality of the design processes, using HPC, Cloud and Big platforms Date. The future is for sure increasingly digital.


The additive technologies to rebuild parts
The great news for air transport is that the additive technology, which allows engine components to be produced by 3D printing, can also be used to repair the components of an aircraft engine. Avio Aero’s Repair research activities are carried out within the joint Avio Aero and Politecnico di Bari laboratory called "Apulia Repair Development Center" (RDC). The center focuses on the use of additive technologies to rebuild damaged parts, in particular through Cold Spray and Laser Deposition technologies. Avio Aero continues the experimental activities, within the META research project - financed by the Puglia Region - and has obtained excellent results both with the Cold Spray technology for the repair of components, and with the Direct Metal Laser Deposition technology for the preliminary development phases of the repairs of low pressure turbine blades.