Concept and Objectives:
Affordable transport for the citizen relies on innovative solutions and technologies that will result in lower costs and lead-time of the aircraft and its systems. In this area, the packaging of on-board computers is an important contributor. The Packaging of futuRe Integrated ModulAr Electronics (PRIMAE) objective is to develop a new flexible, robust and open aeronautical packaging for the next generation of electronics and particularly to Integrated Modular Avionics. This new concept after standardization will be able to replace the 35 year old ARINC 600 standard.
PRIMAE technical objectives are:
- Reduce electronics packaging in terms of volume (50%) and weight (30%) and offer flexibility and growth capability
- Reduce costs (20%) using market standard components
- Enhance reliability (50%) through thermal and vibratory breakthrough – Mitigate EMC protection penalties in composite fuselage environment
- Ensure fast production ramp up and support rapid final assembly on aircraft
- Improve availability and reduce maintenance cost.
PRIMAE Results in brief:
The vital importance of packaging
Housing of aircraft on-board electronics is a key factor for installation and maintenance. The purpose of PRIMAE is to challenge this key factor to set up a new standard that better fit with all today’s constraint compared to the widely used, decades-old existing standard.
Earlier in the history of aviation, each avionics function (such as flight management, flight control, etc.) was implemented thanks to a dedicated software and hardware. As the number of functions multiplied over the years, this federated architecture grew, both in terms of size and complexity. By the 1980s, this had led to a situation whereby aircraft were full of ‘black boxes’ of various shapes and sizes. The consequences of this include: high maintenance costs, the need to store a wide range of spare parts and costly functional upgrades. The packaging of these federated architectures has been guided principally by the Air Transport Equipment Cases and Racking (ATR) standards defined by Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated (ARINC) and which date back to the 1950s. Although these packaging solutions have supported the complexity growth in avionics solutions,, the time has come to find an alternative to this packaging to cope with the challenge of housing new technological and architectural innovations.
Financed by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the ‘Packaging of future integrated modular electronics’ (PRIMAE) project set out to develop flexible, robust and open packaging for the next generation of aeronautical electronics. The project is working to reduce the volume and weight of electronics packaging by 50 % and 30 %, respectively. It will also cut costs by an estimated 20 % and boost reliability by 50 %.
To date, PRIMAE has defined and refined the specifications for cooling and packaging standards. It has also started work on three candidate pre-designs and conducted a number of advanced technology studies. PRIMAE will come to an end in the autumn of 2014. The project partners, all major European players, plan to harmonise the concept before proposing it as a standard for the packaging of future generations of electronics for the future aircraft of tomorrow.