A month ago Scott Fancher, who heads Boeing’s Dreamliner program, said the changes required to fix a wing design flaw seemed like no big deal. In a conference call with analysts on June 23, Fancher commented: “The area in question is a series of relatively small areas in the side-of-body join and the various modification options that we are looking at are really quite simple. A few handful of parts at each one of the locations that can be installed on aircraft that are already assembled or aircraft that are currently in production within the production system. So (it’s) a modification that can readily be installed.” Oh, was he wrong.
A new report in the Seattle Times says the required fix is major, cannot be made easily on existing test aircraft and will further postpone the Dreamliner take-off-which is already two years delayed.
The problem is that the original design put too much stress on composite sections of the wing, causing them to delaminate. In one potential solution under study, a U-shaped cut-out will be created in each upper wing-skin stringer. The reshaped stringer ends will then be refastened to a titanium fitting that connects the wing stringers to stringers on the fuselage side of the join.
Stringers are the composite rods that stiffen the inside of the wing or body skin. Boeing executives told Wall Street yesterday that a solution has been identified and will be disclosed at a later date.
Still hanging in the balance is the Design News report that the Dreamliner design is 8 percent overweight-and that’s before the new titanium fasteners are added to improve wing-to-body strength.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.