Concept and Objectives:
The actual political, environmental and economical trends applied to air transport lead to move in the future to the All Electric Aircraft. The goal of this concept is to eliminate as many hydraulic power sources and complicated circuit of high-pressure hydraulic lines as possible. The CREAM objective is to reach new high performance and reliability capacities of Electro-Mechanical Actuators in hard thermal environmental conditions ready to use in all-electric aircraft.
For this global objective, it is planned to develop an advanced, smart, miniaturised and reliable electronic technological platform integrating new compact technologies, advanced components and assembly methods, and new methodology able to substantially improve the drive and control electronic modules and the EMA motors in order to provide:
– High power density and compact characteristics of electronics modules integrated in actuators (reduction of 50% of electronic volume and mass)
– Advanced new concept of thermal management of the electronic platform allowing higher performances and reliability
– High temperature and compact motor for actuators (reduction of 30% of motor volume and mass)
– Integration of the new electronic and motor platform in actuator housing and a very severe thermal environment (200°C) providing performing thermal management
– Validation of aeronautic reliability in high temperature at least at the same level than existing hydraulic systems, and even better (100000 hours) with health monitoring functionality.
Potential impacts of these developments will be a reduction of the operational costs with the reduction of aircraft weight, of the CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, and mainly of cost maintenance by the suppression of all hydraulic systems. For this ambitious challenge, CREAM involves a consortium of 6 industrial partners, 4 research organisations, and 4 high performing SME from 9 different European countries.
CREAM Results in brief:
Multi-chip electronics platform eliminates aircraft hydraulics
Scientists established the feasibility of all-electric actuation of flight-critical aircraft control surfaces. Removal of bulky hydraulic systems will lead to reduced costs and emissions for a more competitive and eco-friendly EU aerospace sector.
All-electric aeroplanes will exhibit significant decreases in complexity, weight and fuel consumption. The latter has important implications for operating costs and environmental impact. In addition, electrical systems are expected to lead to significantly reduced maintenance costs compared to hydraulic systems.
EU-funded scientists working on the project CREAM focused on eliminating as many hydraulic power sources and hydraulic lines as possible through the development of high-performance electromechanical actuators (EMAs).
Conventional aircraft use actuators powered by hydraulic circuits containing pressurised fluids to move various aircraft control surfaces such as wing flaps and landing gear. EMAs use electric motors to produce a torque that drives the actuation for a much simpler and more compact solution.
The CREAM multi-chip power module (MCPM) is an electronics platform packaging the various chips or functionalities on the same substrate for use as a single component. It includes both the power electronics components and the control electronics integrated in the actuator housing.
The system delivers high-power density in about half the volume and mass. With advanced thermal management, the electronics will withstand the extreme operating conditions associated with air transport. Four fully assembled MCPMs incorporating all sub-parts of the EMA were manufactured and tested in a harsh-environment testbed.
CREAM results establish the ability of EMAs to reliably actuate flight-critical control surfaces on aircraft. Facing intense competition from the United States, the EU is now in a position to build on project outcomes and assume a leadership role in the challenging aeronautics sector.