Rolls-Royce North America Invests $400 million in Indiana Test Facilities

Rolls-Royce North America will invest $400 million in a major modernization of engine test facilities in Indiana, bringing total company investment in the United States to nearly $1.5 billion in the past decade.

New facilities in Indianapolis will upgrade full engine test capabilities, following a major modernization of advanced manufacturing at the campus. The Indianapolis facility will test engines for a variety of products, including the U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bomber fleet, after Rolls-Royce won a $2.6 billion contract last fall to manufacture 650 engines for the iconic aircraft.

The total Indianapolis campus modernization program began with a previous $600 million investment in new manufacturing facilities, upgraded equipment and advanced technology, which was completed in 2021. The additional $400 million investment in test facilities will further establish the Indianapolis site among the most advanced manufacturing campuses that Rolls-Royce operates anywhere in the world. Combined with a talented UAW workforce of 1,000 among more than 3,300 total employees, the Indianapolis site is highly efficient and competitive within the aerospace industry and other business areas in which the company operates.

Additionally, Rolls-Royce has invested over $100 million coast to coast across the U.S. since 2015, updating facilities in Massachusetts, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, South Carolina and California.

“We are thrilled to expand our modern test capabilities and footprint in Indianapolis. We’re developing state-of-the-art facilities that will enhance our recent modernization project and create value for our customers with highly efficient and advanced manufacturing capabilities, said Tom Bell, chairman and CEO, Rolls-Royce North America. “Rolls-Royce North America is growing, modernizing, and leading the way across the U.S.”

Phil Burkholder, Rolls-Royce Defense, executive vice president – Defense Global Assembly, Manufacturing & Test, said, “New testing facilities at our Indianapolis site will further enhance our Indiana advanced manufacturing operations. What we do here provides essential capability for the U.S. military and is also a vital part of the Indiana economy. We appreciate the public officials across federal, state and city governments who continue to support Rolls-Royce in the United States.”

The new Indianapolis test facilities will be built on the company’s Operations Campus near Tibbs Avenue and Raymond Street. The test cells, control rooms and other upgrades will be used to test the modern gas turbine engines manufactured on site, which power a variety of defense and commercial aircraft, ships and power systems in use around the world.

Additionally, Rolls-Royce is investing in test capability in West Lafayette, Indiana, following on an announcement from 2021 that Rolls-Royce would grow its presence at the Discovery Park District at Purdue. That includes upgrading the company’s electronic engine controls business and adding high-altitude, hybrid electrical and hypersonics test capabilities. The new projects will form a significant, large-scale testing campus at the Discovery Park District, where Rolls-Royce already has an electronic controls facility and conducts advanced engine testing at Purdue’s Zucrow Propulsion Labs.

The five-year test modernization program at the two Indiana sites is in line with the group’s ongoing investment plans.

Rolls-Royce Signs Sustainable Aviation Fuel Agreement with Air bp for Engine Tests

Rolls-Royce has signed an agreement with Air bp to try to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions for gas turbine tests carried out at three sites and support one of the organization’s sustainability commitments.

It ensures that all of the aviation fuel supplied for engine testing at Rolls-Royce facilities in Derby and Bristol, UK and Dahlewitz, Germany will be a 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend.

The company says the SAF is derived primarily from waste-based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oils and will be blended with traditional aviation jet fuel by Air bp. Deliveries will begin this summer and the 10% neat SAF element will total around three million liters a year.

In addition, Air bp will provide the fuel for the very first run of the Rolls-Royce UltraFan demonstrator engine, which will be carried out entirely on 100% SAF later this year. UltraFan will deliver new levels of aviation sustainability in terms of improved fuel burn efficiency and 100% SAF capability. The demonstrator will be the largest aero engine in the world.

“This agreement delivers on a commitment we made that the fuel for testing and development is a 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend by 2023,” Chris Cholerton, president – Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said. “We want to encourage the use of SAF throughout the aviation industry and this agreement is an example of the firm commitments fuel producers require to support their continued production investment. I will be proud and excited to see the UltraFan on our state-of-the-art testbed running for the first time on 100% SAF, creating a new chapter in engineering excellence and sustainable aviation history.”

Andreea Moyes, sustainability director, Air bp, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Rolls-Royce to achieve their sustainability goals. As bp transitions to an integrated energy company, we are leveraging our expertise in the sourcing of renewable feedstocks, SAF production, logistics and end customer supply. Our ambition is to be the decarbonisation partner in the aviation industry and we are working at pace to promote SAF availability, accessibility and affordability to support global aviation in realising its low carbon ambitions.”

The three Rolls-Royce testing centres of excellence cover engines for different aerospace sectors – Derby, civil aviation; Bristol, defence, and Dahlewitz, near Berlin, business aviation. Engines from the Trent, EJ 200 and Pearl families are routinely tested before delivery to customers, while product improvement tests are also regularly conducted.

Rolls-Royce has previously committed to ensuring all of its Trent and Business Aviation engines are compatible with 100% SAF by 2023. All Trent and Business Aviation engines are already certified and ready to operate on a 50% SAF blend with traditional fossil-based aviation jet fuel.

Cementex Highlights Contractor Series of Arc Flash PPE Task Wear

Safety tool specialists Cementex is highlighting its Contractor Series of Arc Flash Protective Clothing PPE, a simple option that the company says does not sacrifice safety. While still using premium USA labor and materials, Cementex offers Arc Flash Task Wear with reliable, classic protection for the safety of personnel in environments in and around energized equipment.

The Contractor Series provides a total system of arc-rated protective clothing with kits that include hood, hard hat, coats, pants, coveralls, ear canal hearing protection, and safety glasses or goggles, as well as optional gloves and hard hat liners or balaclavas as needed.

This PPE is available in 8 CAL/cm² and 40 CAL/cm² levels of protection and complies with the NFPA 70E and CSA Z462 standards. It covers Category 1 and 2 with the 8 CAL/cm² and Category 3 and 4 with the 40 CAL/cm² for complete protection with minimal redundancy.

The 40 CAL/cm² Contractor Series of Arc Flash PPE Task Wear is compatible with an innovative ventilation system that ensures greater air circulation, provides cooling, reduces the risk of dehydration, and makes long-term wear easier and safer for users.

In addition to the Contractor Series of Arc Flash Protective Clothing PPE, Cementex also offers the Feature Series for the next level of comfort, safety, durability and protection and the UltraLite Series, with innovative design and materials for the lightest, most comfortable Arc Flash PPE Task Wear available. All Cementex PPE is made with USA labor and materials to ensure quality and peace of mind.

Bell Completes Successful Demonstration for NASA SIO Extension in Collaboration with Hillwood and Northwest ISD 

Bell Textron announced the Autonomous Pod Transport’s (APT) successful demonstration of a ground-based Detect and Avoid (DAA) flight, fulfilling an extension for its NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) project. The APT DAA demonstration showcased the aircraft’s ground radar system integration and its capabilities when navigating airspace traffic and requirements, a critical component needed for future Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles. 

The objective of the SIO demonstration was to execute a Beyond Visual Line of Sight mission in complex airspace utilizing DAA technology to monitor the airspace for “natural intruders” using Bell’s 429 commercial helicopter and APT unmanned aircraft. Bell’s QuantiFLY system, a new aircraft communication unit (ACU) powered by Truth Data, offering a true low-cost, lightweight, and fully automatic flight data monitoring (FDM) solution, was used on the Bell 429 to record aircraft telemetrydata.

“We are excited to demonstrate the effectiveness of ground-based monitoring solutions as part of UAS infrastructure,” said Matt Holvey, director, Intelligent Systems, Bell. “Radar monitoring, whether airborne or ground-based, may become an important part of drone delivery, air taxi services and other aspects of the ever-expanding AAM ecosystem.”

Bell utilized radar systems to monitor the complex airspace within the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) and track manned and unmanned aircraft systems. The MIZ provides one of the most unique environments in the nation for partner organizations to test, scale and commercialize emerging technologies in air and surface mobility. Hillwood also provided multiple sites for radar set up, and testing was conducted at the AllianceTexas Flight Test Center, located approximately four miles north of Fort Worth Alliance Airport.

“We are honored to partner with Bell to launch the testing initiatives as they work with NASA to lay the foundation for the future of budding air technologies,” said Christopher Ash, senior vice president of aviation business development for Hillwood. “The data they receive from these efforts will enable the industry to advance the commercialization of this technology across multiple platforms.”

Along with Hillwood, Bell has collaborated with Northwest Independent School District (NISD) to provide a site for Bell to install a radar at their Outdoor Learning Center.

In addition, Microsoft provided AirSim, a simulation tool for training Autonomous systems, which gave Bell a Digital Twin environment to model the NASA SIO Extension flight in the virtual world before flying through the corridor. This allowed the team to conduct simulated real-world tests of the APT aircraft across a broad range of scenarios without any safety risks and at a fraction of the cost and time needed.                                 

DTB Invests to Expand Capability and Accelerate Test Scheduling

Dayton T. Brown announced that it has invested $1.25 million in its laboratory in Bohemia, New York, to expand advanced testing capacity and position the company for future growth in the aerospace, defense, and aviation markets. With the expanded capability, DTB has addressed the increasingly stringent requirements of these growing markets while answering customer requests for faster turnaround times and flexible scheduling options. The investment includes:

Self-contained, Walk-in Temperature and Humidity Test Chamber. This addition augments current testing capability by adding a 10’ x 10’ x 10’, mid-size chamber option for customers, thereby increasing competitiveness and shortening lead times. This new chamber performs MIL-STD-810 and DO-160 temperature and humidity testing with higher and lower temperature extremes and faster ramp rates, features needed for contemporary testing requirements for products such as electric vehicle batteries, engine assemblies, and military munitions and weapons.

Custom-Built Solar Chamber. This provides a 12’ x 24’ x 10’ chamber designed to accommodate MIL-STD-810, ASTM, and ANSI testing specifications. Specialized solar testing measures the effects of the light intensity generated when commercial or military products such as automotive parts, computer screens, or handheld electronics sit in the sun for an extended period, along with aiding in the understanding of the effects of solar activity on climate change.

Upgraded Vibration Facilities and Capabilities. Several vibration tables have been reconfigured and upgraded, expanding DTB’s capacity for dynamics testing. The Company has combined its Unholtz Dickie T1000s, MB Dynamics C150s, and temperature hoods with new vibration control computers. This updated system allows DTB to meet a wider variety of test scheduling needs for the aerospace industry as well as the increased requirements of the Navy community.

Central Facility Hydraulic Power Supply. This upgrade is composed of three hydraulic power supply systems which provide redundancy and capacity to support the laboratory and its growing testing needs. The new power supplies are used to support DTB’s hydraulic, structural, and seismic testing capabilities, required for the growing aerospace market.

Scanning Electron Microscope. Features like dispersive spectroscopy, a color chamber scope, and stage navigation system, assist the Company’s growing need to perform engineering analysis and reverse engineering in support of service life extension programs (SLEP).
6-axis Portable Measurement Arm. Specialized for high-accuracy probing, and flexible enough to be used nearly anywhere on the manufacturing floor, this tool helps to ease bottlenecks and reduce lead times. This state-of-the-art measuring arm delivers real-time dimensional feedback at the point of production for interim and final product and fixture fabrication. Improvements such as this enhance DTB’s recently expanded fabrication and machining center, offering customers in-house machining, tooling, and test fixture design and fabrication option to go along with engineering and test services. One-stop-shopping leads to reduced turn-around times and streamlined scheduling for customers’ mission-critical programs.

“We continue to expand our capabilities and push the boundaries of innovation here on Long Island to remain the most comprehensive test facility able to supply all our customer’s testing needs under one roof,” commented Jim Kelly, president, Dayton T. Brown, Inc. “We’re committed to responding to customer needs by advancing capabilities, increasing capacity, and providing flexibility to meet challenging schedules,” he continued.

Ontic Signs License with Curtiss-Wright for Data Recording, Data Acquisition and Test Equipment

Ontic has signed a new exclusive license agreement with Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions, the 10th product line partnership, in a long history of partnership between our organizations. This most recent license consists of the PCard and Optical Quick Access Recorders (O/PQAR), Computer Controlled Air Data Test Set (CCADTS-2), and the Digitas and TP91 Air Data Sensor products.

These Curtiss-Wright Penny & Giles branded products are currently manufactured and repaired at Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions’ Christchurch, UK facility.  The product lines will be transitioned into Ontic’s Cheltenham, UK facility in 2022.

“Ontic is pleased to continue our Extended Life Solutions to Curtiss-Wright with the addition of these products,” Gareth Blackbird, chief commercial officer of Ontic, said. “This is our tenth agreement with Curtiss-Wright in a partnership that began in 2004. Ontic’s sole focus is on strategic OEM partners like Curtiss-Wright, providing valuable solutions for the continued support of their mature, legacy, or non-core products and providing lifetime support to the customers”

Ontic’s focus is supported by manufacturing and MRO facilities in Chatsworth, California; Creedmoor, North Carolina; Plainview, New York; Cheltenham, Staverton and Bolton in the United Kingdom and in Singapore.

Ontic possess over 45 years of aerospace product manufacturing and aftermarket support experience.  Ontic provides FAA, CAAS, CAAC, TCCA, DCA, EASA Part 21 and 145 OEM support, including new and serviceable spares and repairs for over 6,500 maturing and legacy aircraft parts. Its portfolio of products, licensed or acquired from major OEMs, such as Honeywell, UTC Aerospace, Safran, Thales and GE Aviation, span all major aircraft systems in both civil and military markets. For more information, please visit www.ontic.com.

72DL PLUS Thickness Gauge Measures Ultra-Thin Layers and at High Speed

The new 72DL PLUS ultrasonic thickness gauge delivers precision thickness measurements at high speed in a portable, easy-to-use device. With fast scanning, advanced algorithms and Olympus’ lowest-ever minimum thickness capability, the gauge can measure the thickness of very thin layers for challenging applications across industries.Whether used as a paint thickness gauge, coating thickness gauge or material thickness gauge, the 72DL PLUS instrument delivers reliable, lab-quality measurements to maximize productivity and throughput on the production floor.

Easily Track and Visualize Thickness Changes
Capable of displaying up to six layers at once for multilayer coatings, paint, plastics and other materials, the gauge includes a full-color touch screen and five measurement layouts so thickness changes can be accurately tracked and visualized.

Easy Application Setup for Routine Thickness Measurements
Guided workflow makes it easier to create and save an application setup. For routine applications, inspectors can store and recall settings to simplify device setup before each inspection.

Modern Data Management for Industry 4.0
Built-in data logging and onboard file management provide streamlined thickness data collection and processing, while the PC Interface Application includes intuitive tools to review and manage data for multiple devices and parts. Connected and cloud capable for Industry 4.0 practices, the gauge supports wireless LAN, Bluetooth®, and USB connectivity and integrates into the Olympus Scientific Cloud™ (OSC).

Rugged for the Production Floor
Built for industrial environments, the gauge can be used indoors and outdoors, on a work surface, or using a four-point chest harness or shoulder strap. The gauge meets military drop test standards (MIL-STD-810G) to protect against accidental drops or impacts, is designed to meet IP65 requirements to protect against dust and moisture, and takes reliable measurements in hot and cold climates with an impressive operating temperature range of –10 °C to 50 °C (14 °F to 122 °F).

Thickness Gauge Models to Suit Versatile Applications
72DL PLUS thickness gauges are available in Standard and High-Frequency models. The High-Frequency model can drive transducer frequencies up to 125 MHz to measure ultra-thin materials—including multilayer paint, plastics, metals and coatings—and simultaneously display the thickness of up to six layers. The 72DL PLUS gauge provides up to 2 kHz measurement speeds, a 60 Hz display update, and clean signals for fast, accurate measurements.

SAKOR Technologies Celebrates 35TH Anniversary

SAKOR Technologies is celebrating its 35th anniversary in business. The company has grown from a two-person firm writing real-time software for other companies’ test systems to an industry leader developing and manufacturing its own control systems and sophisticated testing products.

SAKOR products are serving a variety of major markets and industries, including automotive and performance racing, hybrid/electric vehicle, military, and aerospace, as well as marine, heavy equipment, electric motor/generator, and consumer appliances. Future plans over the next five years include expanding the company’s exports of technology for testing hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrains, electric motor efficiency, and wind power generation systems. SAKOR is also planning on expanding its product offerings, including releasing an update to its powerful DynoLAB™ data acquisition and control system.

The company’s accelerating sales growth over the last decade created a need for expanded facilities, and SAKOR moved to a larger facility in Owosso, Michigan years ago. The 20,000 square foot facility consolidates the company’s administrative, engineering, and manufacturing operations in a building that formerly housed Baker College’s Auto/Diesel Institute of Michigan. It accommodates on-site manufacturing of larger more sophisticated projects.

Randal Beattie, president of SAKOR emphasized that the success of the company over the past 35 years is due to its core values – building durable products that last and designing systems that work the very best for customers’ needs. “We do the math upfront, making sure we have things right, rather than trying to figure out if there are errors later in the process. We have a passion for partnering with our customers, working to develop a system that meets their specific requirements.”

Repeat customers form an important part of SAKOR’s customer base. Many are still using systems purchased 20 years ago or more and are still functioning perfectly. They choose to upgrade their existing systems with the newest SAKOR technology, remaining loyal customers. “I am so very proud of our 35 years of service,” said Beattie. “I attribute our success to both our commitment to our customers and their commitment to us. We provide customers with products that do not require hours of onsite support because we do it right the first time.”

KF Aerospace Adopts dentCHECK for its Commercial MRO Operations

Canadian AMO KF Aerospace has begun using 8tree’s dentCHECK to enhance the efficiency and quality of its dent-mapping activities.    

“KF performs hundreds of structural repairs annually on a wide variety of commercial aircraft” says Gregg Evjen, chief operating officer, “Implementation of dentCHECK has allowed KF to improve accuracy, accelerate the damage mapping processes, and produce a digital record for our Engineers to utilize as they develop the repairs.”

“We are absolutely thrilled that KF Aero decided on dentCHECK, when they embraced the tool after a rigorous evaluation a couple years ago”, said Arun Chhabra, CEO, 8tree. “They joined the global community of dentCHECK users as the first Canadian firm to do so. Several other Canadian operators have since followed in their footsteps. KF Aero joins the ranks of more than three dozen MROs, airlines and OEMs that use dentCHECK daily to disposition dent-damage on aircraft across the cargo, commercial, business and defense aviation sectors. We look forward to continuing to support KF Aero’s maintenance operations and having them experience 8tree’s exceptional customer service.”

dentCHECK is the world’s only handheld-portable, completely wireless 3D scanner tool with integrated AR that is purpose-built for the aviation maintenance industry. It is now used by the world’s leading commercial, cargo and defense MROs. Delivering real-time ‘go/no-go’ answers at the push of a single-button, the tool significantly reduces damage-mapping and reporting times, compared to traditional manual methods that use depth-gauges and straight-edges.

Approved and recognized by all major aerospace OEMs (Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer), dentCHECK is used by the airlines/MROs for fast, accurate damage-mapping and SRM-compliant multi-dent reporting. When compared to traditional inspection methods, dentCHECK says it delivers a 90% gain in efficiency and 35x better measurement consistency.

OEM-acceptance has led to widespread adoption of dentCHECK amongst airlines/MROs. Detailed case-studies from easyJet, Delta TechOps and TAP-M&E, as well as news from Aeromexico, Airbus’ Flightline, DHL-Express and Zeppelin, demonstrate that dentCHECK drastically reduces inspection and reporting times by up to 90%. This shortens aircraft Turn-around-Time (TaT), which further reduces lost revenues and very directly improves operational efficiency for airlines. dentCHECK enhances safety through an improved understanding of airframe reliability.

Military Testing and Consulting Compliance Organization Receives Nationwide 2021 ACIL Customer Quality Service Award

D.L.S. Electronic Systems, a Wheeling, Ill.-based global compliance organization specializing in EMI/EMC, Environmental, Wireless and Product Safety testing and consulting for Military, RTCA and other industries, received three Quality Service Awards from the Washington, DC based American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL):

Nationwide ACIL 2021 Customer Quality Service Award
Special Recognition Award for Timeliness
Special Recognition Award for Overall Customer Satisfaction

ACIL was developed in 1996 to address the industry’s quality issues and recognize those laboratories with exemplary quality performance. The program provides laboratory data users with a mechanism to evaluate testing laboratories. Participants commit to ensuring data integrity, meeting customers’ quality needs and setting performance standards for the testing laboratory industry. No other evaluation program ranks customer satisfaction with laboratory services and requires laboratory management to commit to a data integrity program. To become a participant, testing laboratories must distribute satisfaction surveys to customers, commit to an ethics program and submit a signed code of ethics.

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