Paris 2011: French firm offers tailored component testing

Paris Air Show » 2011
June 21, 2011, 5:10 AM

Avnir Engineering (Hall 4 Stand AB132) is here promoting its skills in devising test campaigns for aerospace components, such as its recent test of a helicopter’s electric harness holder against vibration and temperature stress. The two-year-old French company, with offices in Paris and Lyon, has an 11-member workforce and is looking to recruit more people.

Avnir’s resources have been expanded through a partnership with Schneider Electric which is located in Grenoble, where it has a test laboratory. “We use their high-level facilities; in exchange, we share our expertise in aerospace, where testing methods are more robust than what they usually do,” Christophe Ulrich, Avnir’s CEO, told AIN.

Schneider’s laboratory enables Avnir to perform “accelerated aging” trials. For example, the electric harness holder that it tested for Eurocopter has to be totally reliable as it is located near the main gearbox. Evaluations involved a temperature range of 130 degrees Celsius (from minus 55 C to plus 75 C). Simultaneously, the harness underwent random vibrations of an average 12.5g, with peaks at 36g.

After three hours of this testing on each axis, the project had effectively simulated the full life of the component (several dozen thousand flight hours). In fact, two harness holders of different sizes, with the larger one being for the AS365 N3+ Dauphin rotorcraft, were assessed at a time.

In addition to these types of tests, Avnir is experienced in performing other tests, including for lightning effects, electromagnetic interference and bird impact. It also recently conducted an explosion test for French aerospace group Intertechnique, the goal of which was to ensure that a military aircraft’s fuel system could endure an explosion without causing a fire.

Avnir’s other main customers are Dassault, both for its civil and military aircraft, and the French defense procurement agency (DGA). Aerospace accounts for about 70 percent of the company’s business, with the rest coming from the energy sector, including nuclear segment players. Apart from testing, Avnir is involved in research and development: for example, it has developed an on-board sensor that measures both oil density and viscosity.

Ulrich, who has had experience in creating start-up companies, explained that he wants to achieve sustainable growth. While customers are clamoring for him to hire more engineers quickly, he said, he has chosen “not to go too fast.” The target number of employees is 30 in 2013.

According to Ulrich, revenues in 2010 amounted to €225,000 ($315,000) and are predicted to hit €600,000 ($840,000) this year.

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