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Innovative Technological Platform for Compact and Reliable Electronic integrated in Actuators and Motors

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

The actual political, environmental and economic trends applied to air transport point to future moves to the All Electric Aircraft (AEA). The goal of this concept is to eliminate as many hydraulic power sources and complicated circuits of high-pressure hydraulic lines as possible. The engine, which is currently required to produce thrusts, pneumatic power, hydraulic power and electrical power, must be redesigned and optimised to produce thrust and predominantly electric power.

Today, it is clear that reliable electric actuators are one of the technical bottlenecks for achieving this ambitious technological vision of AEAs. The goal of power by wire (PBW) is to significantly reduce or eliminate altogether the hydraulic connection and its associated risks by providing electrical power straight to the actuators. However, the maturity of PBW technology is lagging behind. In fact, the real challenge for the implementation of the PBW aircraft is the development of compact, reliable, electrically-powered actuators to replace the conventional hydraulic systems, thereby allowing the replacement of all electrical hydrostatic actuators by Electro-Mechanical Actuators - EMA (flight control actuators, braking system, landing gear actuators, propulsion inverters, various pumps, and various auxiliary actuators).


The CREAM project objective is to reach new high performance and reliability capabilities of Electro-Mechanical Actuators (EMA) in harsh thermal environmental conditions ready to use in all-electric aircraft.

For this global objective, it will develop an advanced, smart, miniaturised and reliable electronic technological platform integrating new compact technologies, advanced components and assembly methods 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 or motors (reduction by a factor of 2 of the electronic volume and mass);

- Provide advanced new concept of thermal management of the electronic platform allowing higher performances and reliability;

- Provide high temperature and compact motors for actuators (reduction of 30% of the motor volume and mass);

- Integrate the new electronic and motor platform in actuator housing and a very severe thermal environment (above 200°C) providing performing thermal management;

- Provide validation of aeronautic reliability in high temperature at least at the same level than existing hydraulic systems (50 000 hours), and even better (100 000 hours) with health monitoring functionality.

Description of Work

CREAM proposes an ambitious technological research program allowing the development and validation of a number of various emerging sub-components, packaging and motor technologies and to integrate them to a high performance smart electronic and motor technological platform destined to electric actuator preparation. The project is divided into 4 Work Packages (WPs).

WP1, Specifications, is oriented to the better understanding of the harsh environment and the complex validation plan to ensure the best implementation of the new actuator in aircrafts.

WP2, Multi-Chip Power Module (MCPM) Design, is the core development of the CREAM project and will lead to the creation of the new electronic part of the actuator. This workpackage is divided in to 4 sub-workpackages.

WP2.1 refers to the technical coordination of this activity and all developments of the MCPM global packaging (electronic interface, global packaging and integration between modules).

WP2.2 refers to the development of a new power module for the actuator including power component interfaces with the control module and the compact high temperature power packaging.

WP2.3 will develop another electronic module dedicated to the control of the actuator for high temperature applications.

WP2.4 deals with the reliability of the electronic devices developed, including all assembly technologies and reliability of the modules integration.

WP3, Actuator Global Integration, is dedicated to the development of a new motor for this generation of actuators. New technologies, as new magnetic materials or new motor control method, will be evaluated to improve the actuator.

WP4, Technological platform validation, aims at validating the new actuator to perform the Technological Readiness Level expected.

Expected Results

The following technological outputs of the CREAM project will lead to further economic impacts:

- Reliable 'application-ready' high-temperature electronic modules: establishment of European know-how in the field of high-temperature electronics;

- Successful development of high thermal conductive materials with high thermal stability: such materials are of interest in many areas where reliable cooling is an issue;

- A new technology and design for measuring current in harsh environment, reusable in various sectors;

- High temperature and compact motor controller for applications in valves and pumps;

- Reliable EMA actuators in hard thermal environment providing reduced operational cost for maintenance.

Immediate benefits derived from the wider application of electrical power and electronics in actuation include higher performances and reliability, benefits of overall weight reduction, easier maintainability, reducing operating costs (including reduced fuel burn) and enhanced safety.

CREAM is able to establish the credibility of electric actuation as a primary reliable method for aircraft actuators including flight critical control surfaces, by integrating innovative concepts and sub-systems and reliability testing methods.

CREAM EMA Innovation : Applied to Flight control actuator
CREAM EMA Innovation : Applied to Flight control actuator