19 March 2012
Plextek, Ultra collaborate on ice protection system
Cambridge design consultancy Plextek, has been working with Ultra Electronics Controls on an innovative ice protection system, designed to operate on jet engines. It has already been adopted by Pratt & Whitney for its F135 engine on the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter aircraft.
Efficient and effective removal of airframe/engine ice is critical to the performance and flight safety of an aircraft. The new system adheres to the DAL-A safety specification - the highest level possible – and is designed to operate in either an anti-icing, de-icing or hybrid mode. It is said to cater to a range of ice protection requirements; from simple, time/voltage, on-off control through to complex multizone, closed loop feedback control.
"Ultra and Plextek have been working together for many years now so when they needed support on this project they knew we could deliver," said Gareth Williams, director, Digital & Analogue at Plextek. "The biggest challenge in designing technology for the aerospace industry is conforming to the understandably strict safety requirements – if the ice protection system fails the results could be catastrophic and this is why we've worked hard to meet the DAL-A level of safety specification."
"Designing such a robust piece of technology is no easy task, and having worked closely with Plextek for a long time now we knew we could rely on them," said Kim Wrighton, managing director of Ultra Electronics Controls. "With so much to consider this was an incredibly complex project and one that needed close cooperation between both parties. As a company, Ultra Electronics has been working with Plextek for well over 15 years now and the success of this development shows why."
Most aircraft ice protection systems use 'bleed air', which is inefficient. According to Ultra, the new system is highly efficient and offers far greater control on the protected areas.