The new Airbus 380 may be the largest aircraft ever to be built, yet SKF engineers had devilishly tight constraints under which to design the bearing assembly for the horizontal tail stabilizer (HTP). The primary function of the HTP is to balance all the moments caused by the various aerodynamic and inertia forces and to provide a stable angle of incidence. A secondary function is to control the pitch of the aircraft. SKF engineers designed the failsafe hinge and shaft assembly that connects the horizontal fuselage and stabilizer and is a critical part of the HTP. To meet the loading (high) and weight (low), they employed a new, high-strength steel and titanium shaft and a bi-metal, spherical plain bearing designed to support loads up to 3,800 kN. The bearing's bronze inner ring allows a double rotation path. The plane is expected to enter service in 2005.
A new federally sponsored manufacturing innovation center to strengthen US manufacturing abilities in fiber-reinforced composites has formed, bringing together materials suppliers, OEMs, university R&D labs, and national labs.
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