Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: Eaton displays top product enhancements

 - June 20, 2011, 10:05 PM

Eaton Aerospace (Hall 2B Stand D32) comes to Paris celebrating its centenary–100 years in which it has grown from a small axle business into a company with, among other things, one of the most impressive arrays of aerospace systems and components, and an annual turnover of $13.7 billion.

On the company’s stand at the show this week are many of the latest innovations that make its products lighter, smarter and more reliable. For example, Eaton said before the show that it had responded to demand for lighter composite aircraft wings by building in lightning and ignition protection capabilities to fuel components, avoiding the usual weight increase. It is currently designing a next-generation system that promises a further 20-percent weight reduction. Complex bonding and grounding architectures are required for aircraft wings to compensate for the lower electrical conductivity of the composites.

Aircraft manufacturers can now “come to Eaton for one customized solution for composite bonding and grounding architecture rather than having to deal with multiple suppliers and multiple requirements across the system,” said Einar Johnson, Eaton v-p for customer solutions.

The company has also expanded its electrical component and subsystem portfolio; for example, its power distribution unit for aircraft (displayed here in Paris) has been enhanced through the packaging together of proven relay, contactor and circuit-breaker products into a single line-replaceable unit (LRU). The result is reduced weight, but increased simplicity, reliability and maintainability, said the company.

The Irvine, California-based organization is also showing a new digital, control panel system. It produces various components for aircraft cockpits from switches to lighted panels and keyboards, and now with its selection on the Chinese Comac C919 aircraft program (along with partner company Shanghai Aviation Electric Co.), it has developed new panels and switches, drawing on design experience with the Embraer Phenom 100 and Comac ARJ21.

Eaton’s Arc-Alert technology, one of its big successes with safety benefits for aircraft, increases circuit protection to mitigate arcing and other damage caused by electrical faults. It does this by adding arc-fault detection and circuit interruption (AFCI) electronics. “The ‘standard’ circuit breaker portion of the device operates normally until an arcing event is detected, then the AFCI electronics actuates the trip mechanism and provides supplementary arc-fault and circuit interrupt protection,” said the company. The new device can directly replace the older versions, with the added benefit of built-in test capability.

Arc-Alert devices are used on various aircraft already, including Boeing 737s and 747s, some business jets and military aircraft, such as the F-15 and F-18 fighters.