Kollmorgen Introduces the P80360 Stepper Drive with Closed-Loop Position Control

Kollmorgen has introduced the P80360 stepper drive, the newest addition to the company’s flagship P8000 stepper platform.

Like other drives in the series, the P80360 incorporates innovative stepless control technology to deliver smooth, quiet motion and optimal performance across the full speed range. Additionally, the P80360 stepper drive offers closed-loop position control and is fully programmable, enabling servo-like versatility, precision and repeatability in a stepper drive.

In addition to open-loop stall detection, the P80360 drive offers the ability to track load position via encoder feedback and automatically correct for any overshoot or undershoot errors. Closed-loop position control is useful, for example, in systems where gearing, couplings or heavy loads result in compliance that can cause motor missteps. By correcting for these position errors, the P80360 actively minimizes the risk of scrap or equipment damage. This feature has the added benefit of improving efficiency, so the motor doesn’t consume as much electricity and runs cooler.

The P80360 drive is fully programmable via an intuitive graphical user interface and programming language, available within the Kollmorgen Space software package offered as a free download on the Kollmorgen website. Using these tools, engineers can create simple point-to-point movements as well as linked motion sequences with ease. The versatility and functionality of the P80360 programming software eliminates the need for an external PLC or indexer to perform single-axis motion control, reducing overall system cost.

Kollmorgen Space software also includes a Motor Wizard that enables users with Kollmorgen motors to get their machines up and running faster, requiring only input of the initial profile velocities and acceleration times.

All P8000 series drives are backed by Kollmorgen’s world-class support and expertise, from motor and drive selection and sizing to assistance with setup and troubleshooting. All drives feature CE, RoHS and REACH certifications.

The P80360 stepper drive can be used with all stepper motors with phase current up to 3.0 Arms. It is ideal for labelers, indexing tables, CNC machines, XYZ gantry systems such as 3D printers, packaging, medical lab equipment, pumps and many other applications requiring simple point-to-point movements as well as linked motion sequences.

“The newest drive in our P8000 series is a game-changer for engineers looking to achieve the greatest precision and control in a stepper system,” said Ross McMillan, vice president of engineering at Kollmorgen. “We’ll be introducing even more stepper drives with exciting feature sets in the near future, so stay tuned.”

ATS Named Company of the Year by Aerospace Futures Alliance

Airframe MRO and component support services company, Aviation Technical Services (ATS), was awarded “Company of the Year” honors during the 18th Annual AFA Aerospace Summit in Tacoma, Wash. on September 13. The AFA works to preserve and promote Washington State’s lead as the global center of aerospace manufacturing.

“It is with great pleasure ATS received recognition as Company of the Year at AFA’s recent summit,” stated Dave Keimig, ATS SVP of ops support, EH&S, quality, site services and operational excellence. “As an AFA serving board member, I know firsthand of its vision and what its leadership brings to our aerospace community.”

“AFA appreciates the partnership we have with ATS,” commented Emily Wittman, AFA president and CEO. “And it’s through industry partnership that we work to solve the regulatory, innovation, and workforce challenges facing our industry.”

ATS’s support of the aerospace technician career spans back to its inception as an aircraft component repair company in 1970. Over the years, it became apparent that a more proactive approach was needed which led to the January 2019 launch of its Apprenticeship Program at its hangar location in Everett, WA. Under the structure of the program, employees train on the job while getting paid and have the option to become a certificated mechanic upon completion. This 18-24 month program has expanded to ATS locations in Kansas City, MO, and Fort Worth, TX and has seen more than 160 apprentices graduate with approximately 50% becoming FAA certificated.

Management changes within Lufthansa Technik’s European network

At two locations of Lufthansa Technik subsidiaries in Europe there have been changes in management. Pat Foley has started as CEO and managing director of Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon, effective 
since 1 August. Maria Cilia took over the position as head of base maintenance and CEO Lufthansa Technik Malta on 1 September.

Starting in 1992, Pat Foley held different positions at various locations of Lufthansa Technik. Among other positions, he was chief operations officer at Lufthansa Technik Budapest. He also served as 
chief executive officer at Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico and assumed the role of senior director business development The Americas. Maria Cilia has more than 16 years of experience in the aviation 
industry and has held various management positions at Lufthansa Technik. Her last position was head of planning and engineering at Lufthansa Technik Sofia.

Harald Gloy, chief operations officer (COO) and chief human resources officer (CHRO) at Lufthansa Technik said: “I am very pleased that we were able to recruit Pat Foley and Maria Cilia for these key positions as CEOs for the two European subsidiaries of Lufthansa Technik. Each of them has been working in the aviation industry for many years and thus is highly experienced in this field. I wish both of them the very best in their new roles.”

Sherwin-Williams Launches New Aerospace Conductive Coating

Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings added a new aerospace conductive coating (CM0485115) to its line of undercoats, enabling aircraft owners to impart conductivity onto aluminum and composite substrates. The coating offers high conductivity to non-conductive substrates by producing an anti-static conductive film on their surfaces with a resistivity of 0.1 to 100,000 ohms per square meter to help static charges dissipate from antennas and radomes. The coating is designed with excellent adhesion and offers excellent fluid resistance.

Conductive coating (CM0485115) is designed to work with Sherwin-Williams topcoat systems. Using a 1:1 mix ratio, the product is simple to mix and apply. It is compatible with all non-electrostatic spray equipment and can be applied onto pre-primed aluminum and composite substrates to achieve high conductivity. For the best results, the company says the conductive coating should be applied in one singular, continuous closed film or one cross coat. The application can happen in a wide range of environmental conditions, and the coating can be air cured or force dried, providing flexibility for applicators. Drying times vary based on the dry film thickness.

“As composite substrates continue to grow in popularity in the aerospace market, it’s important for our customers to have ready access to a robust conductive coating that can meet their requirements for functionality, durability and ease of application,” said Julie Voisin, market segment manager, aerospace, OEM interior and commercial vehicle refinish. “Our new conductive coating is a perfect complement to our product offering and commitment to deliver high-performing products to the aerospace marketplace.”

Vietnam Airlines Signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing to Purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX

Vietnam Airlines announced its intention to purchase 50 narrow-body Boeing 737-8s in a multi-billion-dollar deal. The announcement coincides with U. S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Vietnam for key talks on trade and closer diplomatic relations. 

“In line with Vietnam Airlines’ 2025-2030 fleet strategy and vision for 2035, aircraft investment is a crucial strategy that underpins the momentum of the airline’s recovery and supports a prosperous outlook,” Dang Ngoc Hoa, chairman of the board of directors of Vietnam Airlines said. “The new narrow-body fleet will allow us to expand our high-quality services on Vietnam Airlines’ domestic and Asian routes, as well as further modernizing our fuel-efficient fleet.”

“Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, and the 737 MAX is the perfect airplane for Vietnam Airlines to efficiently meet regional demand,” said Brad McMullen, senior vice president Boeing Commercial sales and marketing. “We value our historic partnership with Vietnam Airlines, dating back to 1995 when the airline first leased 767s.”

U.S. and Vietnam officials said the announcement will bolster jobs in both countries and strengthen the bilateral economic partnership. Building on Boeing’s long history of collaboration with Vietnam’s civil aviation industry, the carrier’s 737 MAX fleet will support the country’s goal of becoming a leading aviation hub.

Growing demand for single-aisle aircraft has driven Vietnam Airlines to acquire an additional 60 aircrafts by 2030 and about 100 aircrafts by 2035, including the Boeing 737 MAX, which has between 150 and 230 seats. Over 1,150 aircrafts from the Boeing MAX family are used by 70 airlines worldwide. Vietnam Airlines boasts a fleet of 100 aircrafts, including 65 narrow-body aircrafts, serving 97 routes to 21 domestic and 29 international destinations, connecting Vietnam and the rest of the world.

Ontic Appoints New General Manager at Creedmoor Site

Ontic, a leading licensor and manufacturer of complex engineered parts for the global aerospace and defense industries, has appointed Joshua Florio as general manager for their Creedmoor site in North Carolina.

Florio will be responsible for the day-to-day running of Ontic’s Creedmoor site which specializes in new spares and the development of new original equipment for predominantly military and commercial customers. Ontic’s Creedmoor site is also home to its Firstmark, Twin Commander and Aircraft Belts Inc. brands which support various electro-mechanical, seatbelt and spares for the military, civil and commercial aerospace markets.

Joining Ontic from AAR’s Landing Gear Services business, Florio’s experience in both original and non-core aerospace, and technical engineering as well as management and strategic positions, gives him the perfect foundation to lead the Creedmoor site through its growth journey.

“Ontic’s business model of focusing on product lines that allow OEMs to focus on developing new technologies plays a critical part in the aircraft lifecycle and the evolution of the aerospace industry. I’m excited to get stuck into a business that requires creativity and agility; a challenge I find highly intriguing.”

Ontic COO Brian Sartain said, “Our customers expect the highest level of quality and delivery, and Joshua’s track record speaks for itself when it comes to optimizing high mix, low volume environments so we’re very excited to have him leading Creedmoor.”

Ontic’s Creedmoor site has recently undergone major renovations, paving the way for growth at the Creedmoor site as Ontic looks to expand operations there.

He will take up his post on September 11, 2023.

AIESL To Begin C-Check for Kuwait Airways Soon

The Air India Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) depot, recently rebranded as AIESL, located in Mihan, a special economic zone or SEZ, will receive its first foreign aircraft since it opened operations in the Mihan-SEZ area in 2015. Initially the location was designated to be managed by the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing and was an early investment in the area of Nagpur.

A Boeing 777 from Kuwait Airways will be arriving at the MRO facility for a C-check in a few days. It will be the first time the MRO directly works on an aircraft from a foreign country. Initially, the MRO was meant as an export center for aircraft maintenance services for international airlines.

Tata Group has taken over Air India and AIESL continues to operate as an independent entity.

Akasa Air Partners with Comply365 for Document Authoring & Distribution to Support Growth Plans 

Aviation-software company Comply365 announced its newest customer, Akasa Air, India’s youngest and fastest growing airline, which will use Comply365’s end-to-end operational content and compliance monitoring system to support the airline’s growth plans.

The Mumbai-based airline is implementing Comply365’s ProAuthor to leverage a more efficient and streamlined process to create and deliver smart content to its frontline crew members as it consistently adds new aircraft and expands its operations. Launching its first flight in August 2022, Akasa Air is already flying 20 Boeing 737 MAX as it records unprecedented growth in India.

Commenting on the partnership, Capt. Gaurav Pathak, chief of flight safety at Akasa Air said, “At Akasa Air, we endeavor to support our employees with new age solutions that improve their efficiency. We look forward to bringing Comply365 to manage and author our documentation that synergizes across the organization as we scale rapidly in terms of employees and operations. The platform will deliver relevant information to our frontline crew members in a simplified and accessible manner for improved operational efficiency on any iOS, Android, or Windows device. We are confident that the platform will be of tremendous value to our employees and will support our journey as the country’s most dependable and sustainable airline.”

ProAuthor will simplify and automate the airline’s authoring and distribution process for its operational content. The airline will be able to distribute personalized and relevant content to specific groups, synergize documented processes across the departments, and company-defined tags for content will enable easier and quicker searches, enhancing crew member’s safety and efficiency. In addition, electronic forms will provide the airline with an easy way to capture information from the field to make data-driven decisions.

Akasa Air marks Comply365’s first customer in India and joins a community of more than 90 global customers, from start-up airlines to the world’s most mature carriers, from ultra low-cost to full-service airlines, charter operators, cargo airlines, business aviation, ACMI and wet-lease operators, Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), flight training and rail operations.

“The demand in the Indian aviation market creates a tremendous opportunity for Akasa Air, and we are happy to support their growth with technology that fits with their focus on efficiency, reliability, sustainability and employee-centricity,” Comply365 CEO Tom Samuel said. “We warmly welcome them into our Comply365 community and look forward to providing their crews with an intuitive mobile app and the information they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

Nominee for Administrator of the FAA Announced

President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Michael G. Whitaker to serve as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Michael G. Whitaker is currently the chief operating officer of Supernal, a Hyundai Motor Group company designing an electric advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle. In this role, Whitaker overseas all commercial and key business operations. Whitaker served as Deputy Administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 2013–2016. There, he brought industry and government together to drive the successful transition of the nation’s air traffic control system from radar to a satellite-enabled surveillance technology (ABS-B). Prior to Supernal and his tenure at the FAA, Whitaker served as Group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, India’s largest travel conglomerate and operator of its largest and most successful airline, IndiGo. There, he oversaw strategy and operations for four affiliate travel companies. Whitaker also spent 15 years at United Airlines in a variety of roles as director, vice president and senior vice president. His broad portfolio at the airline included commercial alliances and joint ventures, international and regulatory affairs, and strategic counsel to the chairman and CEO on international matters. Whitaker began his more than three-decade aviation career as a litigator, then as assistant general counsel of international and regulatory affairs at Trans World Airlines (TWA). He is a private pilot and holds a juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on the board of the Flight Safety Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes aviation safety globally.

On the Runway: JPB Système – Q&A Feature

As the aerospace industry emerges from the turbulence of recent years’, Grégory Chauvet, general manager of JPB Système, gives us his thoughts on some of the foremost topical issues as well as the challenges and opportunities that face manufacturers.

1. We’re now well past the half-way point in 2023 – what are your main observations on the year so far and are they those of opportunity or challenge?

It’s probably a mixture of both. Following COVID, this year marks the first full year in which most of the industry is back at 100%. Be it for business or leisure, people are travelling again, but the pressure is on to get back to full volumes quickly and even surpass those of 2022, while struggling with an industry-wide recruitment issue. To compound things further, other external factors have contributed to material shortages, which has in turn driven up costs. In fact, I would say that rising costs across the board – encompassing materials, energy prices, salaries and other expenses that are an ongoing issue for many within the whole aerospace manufacturing and supply chain. So, while we are pleased to be getting growth back on track and putting COVID in the rear-view mirror, like many others, we are grappling with plenty of other concurrent challenges.

2. With the digitalization of general manufacturing continuing to gather pace, is this something that you are also seeing within the aerospace sector?

I think it’s recognized that within the aerospace sector, the pace of digitalization is somewhat slower than in other key sectors like automotive. It is of course happening, especially among large players, but there are still plenty of companies deploying older, mechanized technologies. JPB Système is ahead of the curve having begun to automate its operations some time ago. Indeed, we were one of the first companies in France to establish Industry 4.0 production that increasingly deploys robots and technologies like 3D printing to advance this. We’re not seeing it as onlookers; we’re embracing it and driving it.

The benefits of automated production are even more obvious if you consider the current issue of skilled labor shortages that I mentioned previously. We would all favor employing more skilled personnel if we could, but we are nonetheless offsetting that problem if we are able to automate related areas of manufacturing processes and make ourselves less reliant upon it when it isn’t available.

3. As you mention, the aerospace sector is currently struggling with a widespread recruitment problem, post-COVID. What do you think manufacturers and the industry should be doing to overcome this issue?

We must come together as an industry to not only tackle the current recruitment challenge, but also constantly highlight our worth so that over the long term, we ensure the next generation remains enthusiastic about joining the aviation sector.

It’s two-fold: first, as employers we need to make the effort to attract people to the industry in the first place. From our own perspective, we often welcome students into our facility to showcase our advanced production operations and enable the potential operators and engineers of tomorrow to see for themselves the exciting and attractive workplaces the sector offers – environments that are a sometimes a million miles from their preconceptions.
Second, once they are through the door, employers need to demonstrate their commitment to new hires by supporting growth either within the role or department, but also across other areas of the company. For me, it’s an obligation to ensure our people remain permanently satisfied. That means encouraging them to acquire experience in other areas, building a stronger and more rounded set of skills so that they are energized and inspired as they develop and learn, rather than remain in one lane for the whole time they are with us.

Fundamentally, it’s about always proving to your employees that they are valued. I think the fact that at JPB Système, we were able to ride out the COVID 19 pandemic with zero reduction in headcount, underscores that.

4. Sustainability is an increasingly important topic within this sector. How are you aligning your own processes and operations to support this?

Everybody within the industry needs to continue their efforts in this regard. At the governmental level here in France, we’re seeing commitment to decarbonize the future of aviation with our president recently investing 1.2 billion euros on R&D activities aimed at reducing the environmental impact of aircraft and related products. Indeed, our own ambitions in support of this objective have seen us secure financial support from the government as part of this initiative. This support enables us to further develop our pilot manufacturing line that deploys metal binder-jetting 3D printing technology for the creation and pre-industrialization of aerospace parts for low-carbon aircraft.

However, the focus on sustainability extends beyond the integration of environmentally friendly production technologies. For us, improving sustainability is a complete mindset that has seen us look at every way possible to reduce energy consumption and improve waste management. This comprises the continued adoption of cleaner techniques like recycling programs and the increased integration of solar panels, to sourcing local suppliers wherever possible and shutting off our production machinery outside of operational hours – right down to encouraging employees to turn the light off when leaving a room.

5. We’re seemingly never too far away from external events that impact supply chains. Be it the next pandemic or global geopolitical issue, how do you ensure agility to help minimize future disruption?

Predicting the exact nature of global events that might disrupt operations is always challenging. During the recent pandemic it came down to simple good planning insofar as materials ordering. Anticipating an imminent crisis, our CEO made the decision to over-stock on materials so that we could react quicker upon the industry’s recovery. Additionally, our R&D team stepped up exploration of alternative designs as a back-up plan to any subsequent issues with those materials.

We have one- or two-years visibility with all customers when it comes to their requirements, so the material we over-stocked was already sold with zero chance of surplus production that would be either redundant or obsolete. Although the cash-conversion would be degraded from the decision to over-stock ahead of the actual need, for us it was – and always is – less about that and more about ensuring we maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction. This is not the case with all companies that are often governed by the economics and short-term gain.

6. This is obviously a tough sector in which to operate even without external geopolitical or other factors to add to manufacturers’ woes. What advice would you offer other manufacturers to help them navigate rough waters?

I think it’s about exploring ways to diversify one’s product portfolio, while in-building innovation within that solutions offering. In our instance, despite a long-standing heritage as a supplier to aerospace engine manufactures, we continue to look at how we take appropriate products into other relevant sectors like rail or energy where there may be similar application needs. Beyond existing products for new markets, we have already diversified as a company to provide entirely new advanced non-sector specific solutions for the wider manufacturing industry, evidenced by our KeyProd production monitoring solution.

I would always say customer satisfaction and quality are paramount. After all, a technologically advanced product that meets the customers’ needs is of little use if you fail to hit delivery times or there are failure issues. Companies that can successfully address that collective mix stand a far-better chance of not only keeping their existing customers but winning new ones to future-proof business.