Romar Expertise Helps Airlines Soar with Innovative Safety Solution
With over 50 years’ experience, extensive expertise and technological capability, Romar Engineering provides customised manufacturing solutions for companies across the globe. We manufacture parts for rail, mining and aerospace… including leaders in aviation. For over a decade we’ve been involved in an innovative safety project… and it’s set to help airlines soar.
Romar has created two key components for state-of-the-art anti-crack technology that for the last five years has been tested across multiple Boeing 737 aircraft. Pending final certification, it may soon be distributed across international airlines and aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus.
David Forbes, R&D Manager at Romar, describes the technology: “Most airlines still use an external system for crack detection. Airlines can fit this new system internally where traditionally they have had to remove sections of the gallery and toilet system to inspect the relevant areas. There’s also the potential to detect and monitor cracks at the earliest stage.”
Working with SMS and AEM
Since 2008, Romar has been working with Structural Monitoring Systems (SMS) Australia and Anodyne Electronic Manufacturing Corporation (AEM), a North American aerospace manufacturer with a long history in avionics.
AEM has been a leader in the design, development and manufacture of communications and safety systems for 25 years.
It supplies OEMs such as Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopters and Sikorsky and is a contract manufacturer for companies including Cobham, SkyTrac and Rogerson Kratos.
AEM and SMS collaborated for a number of years on the development and production of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) technology to successfully attain certification approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing. In 2017, SMS purchased AEM to further support AEM projects and accompanying business activities.
Romar and CVM™ Crack Detection
In conjunction with AEM, Romar is manufacturing parts for the CVM™ crack detection system.
CVM systems technology is an innovative solution for in situ, real-time monitoring of crack initiation and/or propagation.
SHM using the CVM system utilises multiple sensors placed at strategic locations throughout an aircraft and linked to instrumentation to detect cracks and monitor crack development.
The CVM systems measures differential pressure between galleries to identify flow changes resulting from a flaw. CVM is fitted internally and provides SHM, thereby reducing the number of structural integrity maintenance inspections – and increasing aircraft performance and safety.
The Romar components
Romar has been manufacturing two parts for the CVM system: an internal fluorosilicone seal and a poly ethyl ether ketone (PEEK) connector.
PEEK is an advanced plastic material that is highly inert to aggressive solvents. The connector joins the sensor to the device that records the data.
SMS and AEM developed this crack detection technology over several years – and Romar was there at the beginning. “They initially approached us looking for speciality polymers,” recalls David.
“We were an R&D company. They gave us some designs and we suggested that we could make the prototype tooling to mold them. We picked out the material grades and completed the prototypes. We used six to eight tools for the PEEK connector and two for the fluorosilicone seals.
We’ve been supplying parts to them since 2008,” continues David, “and they have been used in the Boeing 737 aircraft and supplied to aircraft manufacturers including Bombardier and Embraer Air.”
After several years of testing, the technology is now in the final stages of FAA certification. With the potential to be installed across multiple international airlines, it has an exciting future. “I believe Boeing may offer it as an optional addition to OEM for the 737s,” says David.
The seal and connector for this anti-crack innovation are examples of our diverse and long standing capability, which includes silicone molds, biomedical engineering and elastomers. Thanks to increased investment in expertise and technology over recent years, we have extended this capability to also offer advanced manufacturing and additive manufacturing using our Lasertec 65 3D printing and milling machine.
Romar is globally respected for our team of materials specialists and advanced engineers – and our innovative solutions to manufacturing challenges. If you need tailored and state of the art manufacturing solutions, please get in touch.