Programme Element: ARTES 5.1
Tender nr.: AO 1-7481
Open from: 23 Apr 2013
Closes on: 18 Jun 2013
The objective of this activity is a mass/volume reduction of mounting fixtures for RF waveguide harnesses by using advanced materials and processes. The benefits shall be demonstrated by building and testing a mounting fixture for Ka band waveguide harnesses.
Targeted Improvements: at least a 30% reduction in the mass/volume/cost of the mounting fixtures used for waveguide harnesses.
Description: The RF waveguide harness is becoming increasingly complex. For large multi-beam payloads thousands of waveguides need to be routed on the platform, resulting in a dramatic increase in the mass/volume of the RF harness and increased AIT time. Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies are maturing rapidly for metals and polymer and new applications can be envisaged for these materials/processes. The advanced manufacturing concept combines AM with conventional processes, offering the potential for ?made to measure? RF harnesses that maximise the performance/mass ratio of this sub-system.
The elements supporting the waveguides represent a fair amount of the overall mass of the RF harness. They fulfil structural and thermal functions and their design is based on recurrent shapes and dimensions. The architecture of the RF harness is strongly linked to that of its supporting structure. Some preliminary studies have shown that a substantial mass saving could be achieved by optimising the supporting structure.
AM technologies allow shapes to be created with a great degree of freedom. When applied to the supporting structure of the RF harness, such design freedom could lead to significant benefits, such as cost, mass and volume reductions and shorter AIT schedules. AM techniques also provide the freedom to consider alternative harness architectures that cannot be realised with traditional manufacturing techniques.
Task 1: Critical review of the requirements for RF harness mounting fixtures, including the differences between Ka- and Ku-band applications.
Task 2: Identification and analysis of the materials that could be used to satisfy the requirements established in Task 1.
Task 3: Review of the state of the art of AM technologies and processes for the candidate materials identified in Task 2.
Task 4: Trade-off of alternative designs for the support structure (based on the outputs of Tasks 1 to 3) and selection breadboards for Ka-band applications.
Task 5: Manufacturing and testing of the breadboards (as defined in Task 4).