Aciturri maintains a strong commitment to the encouragement and the development of new technology and promotes continual research and development, with the purpose of maintaining a culture of Technological Investigation which will increase its competitiveness to a national and international level.
At national level, it is an innovation active key player, both individually and in collaboration projects with customers, suppliers and competitors. It has participated in different projects, many of them focused on composite materials, such as the "BBAA-RTM" and "COPERNICO" projects of the RETOS COLABORACIÓN program or the "ESTENEA" project of the CIEN program developed with Airbus.
Since 2002, the company has participated in numerous European R&D&I projects of all the European Framework Programs, highlighting its position as Core Partner in the Clean Sky 2 Partnership as coordinator of the EWIRA Consortium.
The team's innovation has led to the award of new patents, as well as the application of its skills and knowledge to projects outside the aeronautical sector.
Aciturri participates in R&D projects which are co-financed by national organisations and ERDF.
The objective of the OVERLEAF project is to develop an innovative concept of liquid hydrogen tank for use in aviation without the need for high vacuum. Aciturri is leading this project which will reach TRL 3 level of technological maturity, being able to prove the validity of the concept of its proposed hydrogen tank. The need for this development is supported by the energy transition that the European Union wants to achieve through its "Hydrogen Roadmap Europe: A sustainable path for the European Energy Transition". The aeronautical sector sets the objective of reducing the effect of flights on global warming by between 50% and 90%. Hydrogen is the energy carrier that will make a significant contribution to meeting the targets.
The consortium, led by Aciturri Engineering, SLU and formed by AIMEN, CANOE, Universitat de Girona, Technische Universiteit Delft, Arkema France SA, ICSI, Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet and AIMPLAS, will address different challenges ranging from the description of the specifications of the tank and the development of new materials to the production of the prototype and testing to ensure its functionality.
OVERLEAF is an ambitious project supported by the experience of each of the participating companies, positioning the tank concept on which it is based as a potential candidate to be the hydrogen tank that will integrate the aircraft of the future.
This project is subsidized by the European Union through the 2021 call for Cluster 5 of the Horizon Europe Program.
Aciturri participates in the NEOTAIL project as one of the firms integrated in a consortium of companies. Aciturri is responsible for the work package for the development of a rudder for a medium-sized commercial aircraft. This will incorporate technological improvements that will allow higher production rates and lower costs, basing its construction on the use of thermoplastic resin materials reinforced with carbon fiber.
On the other hand, future aircraft will have to comply with new international regulations to reduce the environmental impact, both in their production and in their operating life, with the aim of minimizing emissions of polluting gases such as NOX and CO2. For this reason, the selection of thermoplastic arrays aims to contribute to the achievement of these objectives, since their easier recyclability allows components to be reused or removed from the production chain at the end of their useful life in a safer way.
This project will also address a change in the classic configuration of the rudders, seeking a greater integration of most of the elements of the torsion box in a single piece of CFRP with thermoplastic matrix. In this way, a multi-spar type caisson will be constructed, reinforcing the liners with stiffeners where necessary. This configuration eliminates transverse ribs, so the time and materials required for assembly are drastically reduced. For the installation of the invariant elements with respect to the most usual configuration (LERs, Skins, Fairings, Fittings...) improvements and optimizations of processes and tooling will be sought to reduce assembly times.
Within the NEOTAIL consortium, AIRBUS collaborates closely with Aciturri in the development of this work package, dedicated to control surfaces, as a possible end user. For the execution of the work, Aciturri is also supported by prestigious Technological Centers, such as FIDAMC in Getafe and CIDAUT in Boecillo.
This project has been subsidized by the CDTI and supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
AERCOST, future components & systems
The objective of AERCOST is to obtain disruptive solutions in aerostructure components based on the use of new materials. The aim is to improve functionalities (fire and impact resistance), advance in manufacturing technologies that allow lighter designs, and therefore, aircraft with lower weight, higher efficiency and lower CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
AERCOST will enable these components to be better integrated into zero-emission propulsion systems. It will deepen the automation of complex processes, which by their nature have until now been handcrafted, to ensure the evolution of procedures towards the digital environment.
The AERCOST project offers the market high value-added solutions to address the challenge of mitigating the environmental impact of air traffic, ensuring excellent performance and quality control of new designs.
The AERCOST consortium is composed of Aciturri Engineering, Airbus Operations, MTorres Diseños Industriales, IDEC Ingeniería y Desarrollos de Composites, as well as Troqueles y Moldes de Galicia.
This project has been subsidized by the CDTI and supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Aciturri participates in the Aeronautical Technology Program (PTA) for large companies of CDTI, as leader of the MULTIGLIDE project.
Its mission is to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of aeronautical aerostructures, so the activities are focused on two main lines of work.
To achieve lighter designs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to improve production efficiency in order to reduce manufacturing times and costs.
The consortium formed by Aciturri Engineering SL, Sinergia Racing Group SL, and Applus+ Laboratories, have joined forces to meet these challenges through new concepts of integration of structures (Aciturri) with the "Glide" Forming process (Applus+) and the manufacture of more efficient and higher quality tools (Sinergia).
MULTIGLIDE will enable the participating companies to be trained in this type of solutions in order to gain competitiveness, by capacity and diversification, in new contracts for future aircraft that respond to these geometries.
This project is subsidized by the CDTI and supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
The DAAMAS (Development of wire Arc Additive Manufacturing processes for Aeronautic large Structures) Project, led by Aciturri Aeroengines, aims to develop WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing) technology, identified as an innovative technology capable of achieving results comparable to those obtained in forging and casting processes through a more sustainable technique and with lower production costs.
This project, funded by the Institute for Business Competitiveness of Castilla y León through the MANUNET 2020 program, has as main challenges the research of a WAAM system based on MIG/MAG welding and the optimization of the manufacturing process according to aeronautical requirements.
The final objective is the development of a manufacturing device with process monitoring capabilities to ensure the traceability and quality required in our sector, in addition to achieving the full development of a selected case study.
The R&D Strategic Plan FRUAM (Future Urban and Regional Air Mobility) presented by Aciturri Aerostructures SLU aims to develop new technologies and processes that allow the industrialization associated with the manufacture of aircraft that will meet the needs arising from the new types of mobility for urban and regional areas.
Additionally, among other benefits, FRUAM will allow Aciturri Aerostructures to undertake the paradigm shift that the aeronautical industry will demand from the high cadences that are expected to supply a new type of aircraft, propelled by electric engines, with vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL - Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing).
The Strategic Plan is included within the thematic priorities and areas of action identified in the "Regional Strategy for Research and Innovation for a Smart Specialization RIS3 of Castilla y León", specifically in Priority 2 "Productive efficiency in transport sectors such as automotive and aeronautics, making materials and components the keys to leadership and sustainability", Area 2.4 "R&D&I in Design and Manufacturing".
FRUAM has been co-financed by FEDER, Thematic Objective 1, which seeks to promote technological development, innovation and quality research and is framed within Investment Priority 1. Encouragement and promotion of R&I activities led by companies and support for the creation and consolidation of innovative companies of the Thematic Objective OT1 "Promoting research, technological development and innovation" corresponding to FEDER OP for Castilla y León 2014-2020.
Aciturri Engineering is leading the "COPERNICO" project to be executed in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The objective of Copernicus is to obtain carbon fiber aeronautical fittings with assured process repeatability and very high cadences, which is what will be demanded in future single-aisle aircraft. In this first year we have designed and calculated fittings equivalent to the current ones to be manufactured by RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding), thus applying more modern materials, better properties and more sustainable processes. The tooling have also been manufactured by additive manufacturing, thus ensuring sustainability throughout the process. The project is funded by the program "Retos Colaboración" call 2019 of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
The FEÍNA project, led by Aciturri Engineering, aims to develop additive manufacturing technology in the manufacture of titanium-based preforms to replace current forges. Additive manufacturing is a firm commitment of the Aciturri group towards more sustainable processes by optimizing the use of raw materials. Titanium is a material that combines high strength, damage tolerance and low weight properties in its alloys. This results in much lighter, more durable aeronautical parts through a much more sustainable process. During 2020 the first test detail parts have been manufactured, and it is expected to continue in 2021 and 2022 to obtain the first parts. The project is funded by the program "Retos Colaboración" call 2019 of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
El proyecto FEÍNA, que lidera Aciturri Engineering, pretende desarrollar la tecnología de fabricación aditiva en fabricación de preformas basadas en titanio para sustituir a las forjas actuales. La fabricación aditiva es una apuesta decidida de grupo Aciturri hacia procesos más sostenibles por la optimización del uso de materia prima. El titanio es un material que combina propiedades de alta resistencia, tolerancia al daño y reducido peso en sus aleaciones. Con ello se logran piezas aeronáuticas de mucho más ligeras, más duraderas, a través de un proceso mucho más sostenible. Durante 2020 se han fabricado las primeras probetas, y se espera seguir en 2021 y 2022 hasta obtener las primeras piezas. El proyecto está financiado por el programa “Retos Colaboración” convocatoria 2019 del Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación.
The POLE Project forecast an investment of € 2 million for R&D activities within the sphere of activity of the Regional Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3), is financed by the Castille and León Innovation, Finance and Business Internationalisation Agency through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
With a planned duration of two years, the project is part of Aciturri’s Strategic R&D Plan for the engine segment, and involve some very demanding earning targets.
It includes technology development activities exclusively for plane engine production, primarily in two lines:
- Metal products, especially advanced machining, surface technologies and automation processes.
- Procurement for additive manufacturing, evaluating different technologies for each type of product.
Research on the integration of adaptive design and topological optimization with advanced manufacturing technologies for the generation of high-requirement aeronautical components - OPTIFLY3D"
The overall goal of this OPTIFLY3D project is detailed research on the integration of adaptive design and topological optimization with advanced manufacturing technologies for the generation of high-requirement aeronautical components. This aim encompasses the following specific goals:
- Research, study and define families of aeronautical components that can be redesigned, optimized and manufactured using additive manufacturing technology.
- Research and analyze the capabilities and viability of adaptive design and topological optimization in its application on high requirement aeronautical components.
- Study and evaluate the influence of manufacturing strategies on the properties of the elements generated in additive manufacturing processes.
- Research and value the influence and possibilities of thermal and mechanical post-processes on the properties of components developed through additive manufacturing.
- Study and evaluate the process times, energy consumption and materials in the integration of design processes and additive manufacturing in aeronautical elements of high requirement.
- Study the costs of the complete process of adaptive design, optimization and manufacturing of aeronautical components.
- Analysis of the elements’ physical and morphological characteristics (structure and engine) that can be optimized.
- Adaptive design and topological optimization of the selected elements, maintaining their mechanical properties while reducing the amount of material used.
- Definition of optimal manufacturing strategies and optimization of platforms and post-processes.
- Analysis of related costs.
PROJECT SUPPORTED BY
“Optimization of the industrial process through the training of assembly personnel based on Virtual and Augmented Reality systems”
The overall goal of the project, jointly developed between PixelsHub SL and Aciturri Additive Manufacturing SLU, is the development of a virtual manual for the assembly and / or maintenance of industrial engines for internal consumption or for customers through the use of low-cost reality devices " Head Mounted Displays ".
For this purpose, the following specific technical objectives are proposed:
- VIRTUAL TRAINING: Virtual Reality (HTC VIVE) to train operators in different industrial processes of Aciturri. Purpose: To develop a platform pilot for the training of assembly personnel in a virtual reality environment.
- VIRTUAL ASSISTANT: Augmented Reality (HOLOLENS) to assist operators in different industrial processes of Aciturri in real time. Aim: Integrate a protocol of assembly/disassembly of the model of the different commercials into Hololens, as well as an interface that allows, at the request of the observer, to go through different parts of the protocol as it requires information in real time of the process. With this development it is intended that the operator has a manual of consultation in real time of the process in which he is immersed, thanks to the integration of the operation manual in augmented reality (Hololens).
The use of Virtual Reality has been validated for the training of the plant staff in the assembly of industrial components and the Augmented Reality as a real-time assistant for that assembly.
Project supported by
ACITURRI participates in Clean Sky 2 R+D program (within Horizon 2020 framework) leading the EWIRA Core Partner consortium; which is integrated by four members: ACITURRI Engineering and ACITURRI Assembly (Spain), CAETANO Aeronautics (Portugal) and The Manufacturing Technology Centre (UK). EWIRA activity is concentrated in introducing innovative design, manufacturing and assembly technologies in wing components of the FTB#2 flight test bed demonstrator. FTB#2 demonstrator is leaded by Airbus Defense & Space within the Regional-IADP consortium. The focus of innovation activity is in:
- New assembly concepts reducing process time and costs;
- Innovation in metallic machining in order to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact;
- Innovative design techniques in additive manufacturing for critical parts; and
- New composite manufacturing techniques focusing on part number reduction.
The European manufacturing industry is facing new challenges in terms of adaptability, flexibility and vertical integration. The SYMBIO-TIC project addresses these important issues towards a safe, dynamic, intuitive and cost effective working environment were symbiotic collaboration between human workers and robots can take place and bring significant benefits in tasks and processes that are too complex to be automated.
In this context ACITURRI collaborates with IDEKO and PRODINTEC to shape one of the project demonstrators in which it is intended to emulate the assembly of one rib of a torsion box; in turn developing an assembly process in which the objectives and new technologies of the SYMBIO-TIC project are integrated.
Aciturri Engineering has a contribution in the H2020 project called “COMMUNION”.
ComMUnion concept aims to be a universal solution for advance joining process for the manufacturing of hybrid 3D thermoplastic/metal composite components. Independently from the specific interest of ACIENG as end users members of the consortium, this task aims at determining the requirements of the system in order to respond to this multi-stage flexibility.
RTM Leading Edge Challenge
During the period 2016-2017, Aciturri Engineering has been leading the project “Development of leading edges in RTM”, which it is executing together with Aciturri Composites and the technology center CIDAUT, in an R&D program that forms part of the "COLLABORATION CHALLENGES" funding program. The challenge of the project is to be able to manufacture a new leading edge concept using the RTM technique and considering high production rates.
The general goal of the project is to undertake the necessary research for the definitive and industrial application of additive manufacturing (AM) technology in the aeronautics industry, allowing the mass production of flight parts and tooling, which is to say, to increase the TRL of metallic additive manufacturing technology in the aeronautics market.
The following specific technical objectives have been proposed to achieve this:
- Determine the current capacity of AM technology using laser sintering to address the high-level requirements of the aeronautics industry.
- Increase knowledge of the influence of the principal variables of the laser sintering process on the final quality of parts (structural performance, metrology, etc.).
- Determine the possibility of maintaining the capacity for homogenization, repetition, and reuse of the material from AM technology, while still responding to the industry's requirements.
- Determine the current capacity of AM technology using post-processing to address the high-level requirements of the aeronautics industry.
- Increase knowledge of the influence of the principal variables of the post-processing processes on the final quality of parts.
- Validate findings by manufacturing tests of prototypes on a laboratory scale to demonstrate the capabilities and real needs of the complete technology (laser sintering + post-processing).
- Determine the most suitable process conditions that will make it possible to certify additive manufacturing processes for obtaining aeronautical components in the future.
Degree of homogeneity, repeatability and reuse of ALM technology materials applied to aeronautical sector requirements.
In order to study the repeatability of the process along with its quality, different experiments have been made that have allowed to analyze both mechanical properties and tolerance. Results indicate that the process is repeatable and that no significant differences are identified between the different working areas in the work platform of the SLS equipment.
Identification of the variables of operation of the laser sintering process more adequate to respond to the needs of the aeronautical sector.
We worked on the design, development and manufacture of test pieces, ad hoc parts and demonstrators. During the processes, we have evaluated the manufacturing strategies and machine parameters most appropriate to get the best results both from the dimensional and physical-mechanical point of view of each element. This experience has served to establish the most appropriate manufacturing methodologies to build right parts, guarantee repeatability of the process and its homogeneity.
Finishes and dimensional tolerance.
High requirements required in finishing and dimensional tolerance are characteristic of the manufacturing processes of the aeronautical sector. Inside this framework, analyzes, experiments and studies related to different technologies have been made, complementing the SLS, allowing to improve surface finish and achieve the required dimensional tolerance.
Identification of suitable materials for the aeronautical sector within the families of metal alloys previously identified as more appropriate.
Inside of aeronautics requirements, the metallic materials used are characterized by providing adequate mechanical properties with the smallest weight as possible. In this case, one of the materials most used is a titanium alloy (Ti6Al4V), which brings lightness at the same time as resistance. The studies made in the SLSAero project have focused on the analysis of this material and the results have been positive. Titanium alloys processed by SLS have high capacities for the aeronautical sector.
Aciturri Engineering is participating as a partner in the “ESTENEA” project, “ESTUDIO DE TECNOLOGÍAS DE BAJO COSTE Y ALTAS CADENCIAS EN COMPOSITES (STUDY OF LOW-COST, HIGH-RATE TECHNOLOGIES IN COMPOSITES)”, financed by the CDTI and cofinanced by FEDER. The goal of the project, which is led by Airbus, is to search for and develop materials and processes that make it possible to undertake the manufacture of aeronautical structures at lower cost, adjusting to the increased production rate required by the market. The project began in 2014 and will continue through the end of 2017.
Aciturri, along with different technology centers such as CIDAUT, AIMEN, CTME, FIDAMC and 3T TECHNOLOGIES, is taking part in the search for materials for processes that use injected resin, and participating in the development of processes such as: additive manufacturing applied to tooling, use of lasers as an alternative to manual sanding, and optimization of simulation testing.
TARGET aeronautical sectorial project financed by CDTI through the CENIT 2010 program and led by Airbus Operations S.L.
The project aims to research and develop new intelligent and environmentally sustainable technologies for composite structures. In this action plan, Aciturri Composites focuses its research on liquid injection processes and automation of preforming operations as an alternative to manual preforming operations or metallic solutions.
As part of this project, Aciturri is working with the CIDAUT foundation (Valladolid), a national technology center with experience in these technologies and their application in the aeronautical sector.
To progress in the scientific and technological development of robotics is one of the pillars of Industry 4.0 and constitutes one of the priority action axes marked by the European Commission to boost the competitiveness of the industrial sector in Europe.
The European project COROMA (Cognitively Enhaced Robot For Flexible Manufacturing of Metal and Composite Parts), an initiative coordinated by the technology centre IK4-IDEKO and in which Aciturri participates as final user of the advancements, is developed in this context. It seeks to develop a new concept of intelligent, modular and flexible industrial robots, with the capacity to execute multiple processes and to manufacture metallic and composites detail parts for sectors as demanding as aeronautics.
The robotic system will be able to perform drilling, trimming, deburring, polishing, sanding, non-destructive inspection and adaptive fixation. Using a simple interface, it will receive basic commands that will require minimal programming effort from the operator. In addition, it will move autonomously in the production plant, perceiving the manufacturing environment and locating the elements to be manipulated, even using the required tools for the processing of the pieces.
IMPACT - lighter protection systems for Defense through 3D printing
The IMPACT project is aimed at the "3D printing of new auxetic materials and structures for the improvement of passive protection systems for combatants" and is part of the R&D projects of interest for Defense included in the scope of the Program for Cooperation in Scientific Research and Development in Strategic Technologies (Coincident Program).
The fundamental concept of IMPACT is the design, development, fabrication and validation of reticular structures with auxetic properties. Auxetic structures and materials are those that have a negative Poisson's coefficient, which means that their behavior is the opposite of that usually expected when subjected to tensile/compression processes: when subjected to traction [compression] in the axial direction, an expansion [compression] is produced in the transverse direction. This characteristic makes the combination of these materials and structures ideal for protection systems and, as on other occasions, opens up a wide range of opportunities for their application in other sectors by combining lightness and strength in structures that until now had to be solid.
The scope of the project includes the validation of test specimens in different commercial materials, and also includes the specific development of a steel with ballistic quality, atomizable and processable through 3D printing technologies.
The project, sponsored and supervised by the General Directorate of Armament and Material of the Ministry of Defense of the Spanish Government, is led by Fundación Idonial and, together with Aciturri Additive Manufacturing SLU, ArcelorMittal Innovación Investigación e Inversión, SL and Fundación CIDETEC are participating in its development.