Palmdale, California facility incorporates smart manufacturing components.
Lockheed Martin has completed construction of an advanced manufacturing facility at its Palmdale, California, campus, and headquarters to the Skunk Works®.
The 215,000ft2 intelligent, flexible factory has digital foundations to incorporate smart manufacturing components, embrace the Internet of Things, and deliver cutting-edge solutions rapidly and affordably to support the United States and its allies. This is one of four transformational manufacturing facilities Lockheed Martin is opening in the U.S. this year.
The new building incorporates all three of Lockheed Martin's advanced production priorities: an intelligent factory framework; a technology enabled advanced manufacturing environment; and a flexible factory construct to support customer priorities with speed and agility while bolstering manufacturing capability in the United States.
"For more than 100 years, Lockheed Martin has been proud to call California home," said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. "Our partnership with the state has helped us remain competitive and has positioned us for long-term growth. The technology in our new Palmdale facility lets us go beyond manufacturing optimization to the next digital revolution, driving innovation and preserving California's leadership in the aerospace industry."
Merging the power of human and machine, manufacturing artisans will work with digital tools to execute operations with maximum efficiency. The incorporation of robotics, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality reduces the need for hard tooling, elevating the human experience to drive rapid innovation, a hallmark of the Skunk Works.
In addition to manufacturing, the facility includes office and break spaces to accommodate more than 450 employees. The company has created more than 1,500 new jobs for California since 2018.
This project is the cornerstone of over $400 million in capital investments being made across Lockheed Martin's Palmdale campus to address growth in support of its customers' missions.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is responsible for many aerospace firsts, including the United States' first jet fighter (P-80), the world's first stealth fighter (F-117), and the world's first 5th generation fighter (F-22). With a proven way of working based on 14 simple rules, the Skunk Works is known for rapidly solving urgent national needs. With eight Collier trophies and a National Medal of Technology and Innovation awarded from the office of the President of the United States, the Skunk Works continues to define what is next in aerospace.
Initial order makes the airline based in Leeds, United Kingdom, a new Airbus A320neo family operator.
Jet2.com has placed an initial order for 36 Airbus A321neos making the airline based in Leeds, United Kingdom, a new Airbus customer and a new Airbus A320neo family operator. The order reflects Jet2.com’s ambitious fleet expansion and renewal plans. Engine selection will be made later.
Philip Meeson, Jet2.com Executive Chairman said, “Jet2.com will be proud to operate the Airbus A321neo in the years ahead. This aircraft is, in our opinion, the most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft in its class today – it will give our holiday customers a wonderfully comfortable and enjoyable experience as they travel with us for their well-deserved Jet2holiday.”
The aircraft will be configured for 232 seats with an Airspace cabin featuring innovative lighting, new seating products, and 60% larger overhead baggage bins for added personal storage.
“We very much welcome Jet2.com’s decision. Traditionally having been operating non fly-by-wire aircraft, we note with great satisfaction that after having tested a couple of leased A321s and run a comprehensive evaluation, Jet2.com is forward looking and investing in modern and future proof Airbus fly-by-wire technology. This is a testimony to Jet2.com’s vision of efficiency, quality, performance, and environmentally friendly flying,” said Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International.
The A320neo family incorporates the latest technologies, including new generation engines and Sharklets, for a 20% reduction in fuel consumption per seat. With an additional range of up to 500nm (900km) or 2t of extra payload, the A321neo will offer Jet2.com additional revenue potential.
At the end of July 2021, the A320neo family had won more than 7,400 firm orders from more than 120 customers worldwide.
Custom engineered, miniature rupture disk assemblies designed for low to high pressure and cycles are ideal for many aerospace applications.
To ensure safety and reliability, aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) depend on integrated, specific, rupture disk solutions for applications ranging from compressed gas cylinders to propulsion systems, aircraft wheels, environmental and fire protection equipment, and fuel storage systems. Rupture disks serve as an effective passive safety mechanism to protect against overpressure in many such aerospace applications. The disk, which is a one-time-use membrane made of various metals including exotic alloys, is designed to activate within milliseconds when a pre-determined differential pressure is achieved.
Aerospace equipment reliability is essential and demands high integrity from the pressure relief technology used to protect low- and high-pressure OEM systems. Instead of loose rupture disk and holder devices, OEMs are increasingly turning to integrated rupture disk assemblies with all components combined by the manufacturer. These assemblies are tailored to the application, miniaturized, and use a wide range of standard and exotic materials. This approach ensures the rupture disk device performs as expected, enhancing equipment safety, reliability, and longevity while simplifying installation and replacement.
The integrated assembly is also ideal for numerous hydraulic, pneumatic, and other low-, medium- and high-pressure applications including pumps, piston & bladder accumulators, propulsion systems, pressure vessels, and piping.
From satellites to aircraft to drones, tailoring integrated rupture disk applications for use with lightweight, compact materials such as titanium and aluminum are also important since it takes more energy to get heavier vehicles off the ground.
When tremendous corrosion resistance is required for aggressive fluid conditions, titanium is often the material of choice. Where light weight and economy are required, an aluminum welded assembly may be the right solution.
Separate components versus integrated assemblies Traditionally in aerospace, rupture disks begin as standalone components that are combined with the manufacturer's separate holder at the point of use. The installation actions of the user contribute significantly to the function of the rupture disk device. When installed improperly, the rupture disk may not burst at the expected set pressure. There is a delicate balance between the rupture disk membrane, its supporting holder, and the flanged, threaded, or other fastening arrangement used to locate the safety device on the protected equipment.
For this reason, an integrated rupture disk assembly is often a better choice than separable parts. Available ready-to-use and with no assembly required, integrated units are certified as a device to perform at the desired set pressure. The one-piece design allows for easier installation and quick removal if the rupture disk is activated.
The assembly includes the rupture disk and housing and is custom engineered to work with the user's desired interface to the pressurized equipment. The devices are typically threaded or flanged, or even configured for industry specific connections such as CF/KFVCR couplings. The rupture disk and holder are combined by the manufacturer by welding, bolting, tube stub, adhesive bonding, or crimping based on the application conditions and leak tightness requirements.
This approach has additional advantages. Integrated assemblies can be mistake-proofed by design to ensure correct direction of installation such as by use of a different screw thread configuration at the inlet and outlet of the device. The physical characteristics of increasingly miniaturized rupture disks as small as 1/8" can also make it challenging for personnel to pick up the disk and place it into a separate holder.
“Aerospace OEMs are driven to deliver the best performance while respecting the budget of their customers, says Geof Brazier, Managing Director of BS&B Safety Systems Custom Engineered Products Division. “The use of an integral assembly maximizes the quality assurance for the pressure relief technology by providing a ready to use component.”
Integrated assemblies - rupture disk design According to Brazier, the most important considerations in rupture disk device design for aerospace are having the right operating pressure and temperature information along with the dimensional constraints of the application. Service performance is sometimes expressed as the number of cycles the device is expected to endure during its lifetime. Since pressure and cycling varies depending on the application along with the space available and weight that is acceptable, each requires a custom engineered solution.
“Coming up with a good, high reliability, cost-effective, and application specific solution for an aerospace OEM involves selecting the right disk technology, the correct interface (weld, screw threads, compression fittings, single machined part), and the right options as dictated by the codes and standards or end-user validation requirements,” Brazier says.
Because user material selection can also be very specific to the application conditions, rupture disk device can be manufactured from metals and alloys such as stainless steel, nickel, aluminum, Monel, Inconel, titanium, columbium [niobium], and Hastelloy.
For aerospace applications, it can be important for rupture disks to have a miniaturized reverse buckling capability in both standard and exotic materials, Brazier notes.
In almost all cases, reverse-buckling rupture disks are used because they outperform the alternatives in accuracy and resistance to normal operating conditions.
In a reverse-buckling design, the rupture disk’s dome is inverted toward the pressure source. Burst pressure is accurately controlled by a combination of material properties and the shape of the domed structure. By loading the reverse-buckling disk in compression, it can resist operating pressures up to 95% of minimum burst pressure even under pressure-cycling or pulsating conditions. The result is greater longevity, accuracy, and reliability.
“The process industry has relied on reverse-buckling disks for decades. Now the technology is available to aerospace OEMs in miniature form as small as 1/8" burst diameter from BS&B. Until recently, obtaining disks of that size and performance was impossible,” Brazier says.
He adds that the benefits of such miniaturized, reverse-buckling disks include the lowest possible burst pressure ratings in small diameters, enabling low profile, light-weight design, superior performance in cycling service conditions, minimal or no fragmentation upon activation, and the ability to withstand full vacuum or back pressure without extra support components.
However, miniaturization of reverse-buckling technology presents its own unique challenges. To resolve this issue, BS&B created novel structures that control the reversal of the rupture disk to always activate predictably. In this type of design, a line of weakness is also typically placed into the rupture disk structure to define a specific opening flow area when the reverse-type disk activates and retains the disk petal within the assembly housing.
“Reverse buckling – and therefore having the material in compression – does a few things,” Brazier says. “Number one, repeatable structural integrity is achieved. Second, it allows you to obtain a lower burst pressure from thicker materials, which contributes to enhanced accuracy as well as durability.”
Small, nominal size rupture disks are sensitive to the detailed characteristics of the orifice through which they burst. This requires strict control of normal variations in the disk holder.
“With small size pressure relief devices, the influence of every feature of both the rupture disk and its holder is amplified,” Brazier explains. “With the correct design of the holder and the correct rupture disk selection, the customer’s expectations will be achieved and exceeded.”
Because customers are often accustomed to certain types of fittings to integrate into a piping scheme, different connections can be used on the housing. Threading is popular, but BS&B is increasingly using several other connection types to attach the rupture disk assembly to the application. Once the integral assembly leaves the factory, the set pressure is fixed, and the device is ready for use.
“If you rely on someone to put a loose disk in a system and then capture it by threading over the top of it, unless they follow the installation instructions and apply the correct torque value, there is still potential for a leak or the disk may not activate at the designed burst pressure,” Brazier warns. “When welded into an assembly, the rupture disk device is intrinsically leak tight and the set-burst pressure fixed.”
While aerospace OEMs have long relied on rupture disks in their compressed gas, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, high and low pressure, high-cycling environments have been particularly challenging. Fortunately, with the availability of integrated, miniaturized rupture disk solutions tailored to the application in a variety of standard and exotic materials, aerospace OEMs can significantly enhance equipment safety, compliance, and reliability even in extreme work conditions.
About the author: Jeff Elliott is a Torrance, California-based technical writer who has researched and written about industrial technologies and issues for the past 15 years.
Achieving wastewater treatment compliance Automated wastewater treatment systems help the industry remain in compliance with EPA and local standards, while significantly reducing the cost of treatment, labor, and disposal.
In the manufacture, maintenance, and cleaning of aircraft, the aerospace industry must meet federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local wastewater requirements for effluent. Failing to do so can result in severe fines that quickly escalate.
Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has identified 65 pollutants and classes of pollutants as toxic, of which 126 specific substances have been designated priority toxic pollutants.
Typically, manufacturing military or commercial aircraft, jet engines, helicopters, or specialized parts can involve using process rinse water. This can be used while producing, deburring, or finishing aluminum, titanium, or composite parts. Water is also used for plating metals, molding composites, and manufacturing electronics. For example, in defense, to improve wear and tolerance, aerospace components can use cyanide cadmium plating, a process that produces a toxic waste that must be treated.
In addition, in the maintenance and cleaning of aircraft, washing may be used to rid everything from components to aircraft fleets of any dirt, debris, or residues that could degrade performance or aesthetics. For commercial airlines, even running onboard amenities such as toilets and sinks can produce wastewater.
These uses require installing a wastewater treatment system that effectively separates contaminants from the water so it can be legally discharged into sewer systems or even re-used.
However, traditional wastewater treatment systems can be complex, often requiring multiple steps, a variety of chemicals, and a considerable amount of labor. Even when the process is supposedly automated, too often technicians must still monitor the equipment in person. This usually requires oversight of mixing and separation, adding chemicals, and other tasks required to maintain the process. Even then, the water produced can still fall below mandated requirements.
Although paying to have wastewater hauled away is an option, it’s extraordinarily expensive. In contrast, it’s much more cost effective to treat the industrial wastewater at its source, so treated effluent can go into a sewer and treated sludge passes a toxicity characteristics leaching procedure (TCLP) test and can be disposed of as non-hazardous waste in a local landfill.
Fortunately, complying with EPA and local wastewater regulation has become much easier with fully automated wastewater treatment systems. Such systems not only reliably meet regulatory wastewater requirements, but also significantly reduce the cost of treatment, labor, and disposal when the proper Cleartreat® separating agents are also used.
Automated wastewater treatment In contrast to labor-intensive multiple-step processes, automated wastewater treatment can help to streamline production, usually with a one-step process, while lowering costs.
An automated wastewater treatment system can eliminate the need to monitor equipment in person while complying with EPA and locally mandated requirements. Such automated systems separate suspended solids, emulsified oil, and heavy metals, and encapsulate the contaminants, producing an easily de-waterable sludge in minutes, according to aerospace industry consultants at Sabo Industrial Corp., a New York-based manufacturer, distributor, and integrator of industrial waste treatment equipment and solutions, including batch and fully automated systems, Cleartreat separating agents, bag filters, and accessories.
The water is separated using a de-watering table or bag filters before it is discharged into sewer systems or further filtered for re-use as process water. Other options for de-watering include using a filter press or rotary drum vacuum. The resulting solids are non-leachable and are considered non-hazardous, so will pass all required testing.
These systems are available as manual batch processors, semi-automatic, automatic, and can be designed as a closed-loop system for water reuse or provide a legally dischargeable effluent suitable for the sewer system. A new, fully customized system is not always required. In many cases, it can be faster and more cost effective to add to or modify a facility’s current wastewater treatment systems when this is feasible.
However, because every wastewater stream is unique to its industry and application, each wastewater treatment solution must be suited to or specifically tailored to the application. The first step in evaluating the potential cost savings and effectiveness of a new system is to sample the wastewater to determine its chemical make-up, followed by a full review of local water authority requirements, say aerospace industry consultants at Sabo Industrial.
The volume of wastewater to be treated is also analyzed, to determine if a batch unit or flow-through system is required. Other considerations include size restrictions, to make sure the system fits within the facility’s available footprint.
Separating agents Despite all the advances in automating wastewater treatment equipment, any such system requires effective separating agents to agglomerate with wastewater solids so they can be safely and effectively separated out.
Because of the importance of separating agents for wastewater treatment, Sabo Industrial uses a special type of bentonite clay in its ClearTreat line of wastewater treatment chemicals. These wastewater treatment chemicals are formulated to break oil and water emulsion, provide heavy metals removal, and promote flocculation, agglomeration, and suspended solids removal.
Bentonite has a large specific surface area with a net negative charge that makes it a particularly effective adsorbent and ion exchange for wastewater treatment applications to remove heavy metals, organic pollutants, nutrients, etc. Bentonite is essential to effectively encapsulate these materials, which can usually be achieved in one-step treatment, lowering process and disposal costs.
In contrast, systems that use polymer-based products do not encapsulate the toxins, so are more prone to having waste products leach out through time or upon further agitation.
Today’s automated systems, along with the most effective Cleartreat separating agents, can provide industrial facilities with an easy, cost-effective alternative so they remain compliant with local ordinances and the EPA. Although there is a cost to these systems, they don’t require much attention and can easily be more economical than paying fines or hauling.
Adds unclassified satellite line for national defense.
L3Harris Technologies is expanding its satellite production site to include advanced production of unclassified satellites, which will deliver experimental capabilities for national defense.
The Central Florida location is home to more than 100,000ft2 of space used for development, manufacturing, and testing of full satellites and components which already deliver complex, classified capabilities for national defense. The increased production capability allows L3Harris to develop and test the experimental Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3), which is a priority program for the U.S. Air Force. Facility investments also make it possible to develop and integrate three sizes of small-to-medium responsive satellites in support of urgent U.S. Department of Defense missions addressing evolving threats.
“Our customers face urgent threats that must be addressed in months rather than years,” said Ed Zoiss, president of L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. “We prioritized facility investments to meet their accelerating timelines.”
Two of the company’s eight buildings have recently been upgraded to manufacture multiple end-to-end satellites per month. L3Harris has built eight satellites at the expanded Palm Bay facility that are currently on orbit and another 10 are in various stages of development. The company plans to add more production capacity by the end of the year to produce six satellites per month.