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Advancements in Technology and Material as Methods to Upgrade Diagnostics in Aviation EWIS

Lufthansa Technik
Lufthansa Technik

The Electrical Wiring Interconnect System (EWIS) has travelled a long distance from being an afterthought to being acknowledged as a discrete system of cables and harnesses, facilitating interconnectivity of equipment within an aircraft. The mushrooming growth of aircraft fleets owing to increasing air travel is substantially impacting the demand for aviation EWIS. Robust growth of global passenger traffic is fostering the need for new aircraft, positively influencing the growth of the Aviation EWIS industry. The migration of demographics from rural to urban areas is streamlining the consumer preference for transport towards air travel, further boosting the air crafts market, which consequently impacts the aviation EWIS landscape. 

Significance of EWIS in aviation has become very apparent, drawing the attention of regulatory authorities. Many international authorities such as Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) and Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) in the transport sector are mandating EWIS in air crafts, fueling the demand for these systems in the aviation industry. Apart from governmental influence, rapid infrastructure development of existing aircraft into advanced and electric versions is also triggering the demand for aviation EWIS. The booming aviation sector in developing economies is generating a plethora of growth opportunities for market players in the aviation EWIS ecosystem. Perceiving the intensity of the situation, new manufacturers of aviation EWIS are entering the market, which in turn is intensifying the competition along with boosting the market growth. 

Diagnostics is the New Area of Innovations

Though EWIS has been benefitting the aircraft for a long time, market players are looking forward to inducing advanced inspection and diagnostic processes in ageing aircraft to impart its longer life with new technologies. Aircraft operators are taking a proactive approach to find and improve the areas vulnerable to faults. For instance, they are conducting live-wire tests during the flight to detect intermittent faults that are difficult to detect during maintenance on the ground. Aircraft vendors are employing advanced technologies such as Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter technology to provide additional safety measures in air crafts in cases of faults. Smart wire systems integrated with nanoscale sensors take fault finding a step ahead with real-time fault corrections. Market players are making investments into the development and testing of diagnostic technologies, to reap the financial benefits of fault-finding ahead of any real-time mishap. 

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The scope of innovations is boundless in aviation, generating a plethora of growth opportunities for the market players. The non-existence of error in systems used across aerospace further highlights the importance of innovations in the aviation sector. Aircraft manufacturers are progressing on the line of improving different aspects such as safety, weight, ecology, maintenance, and connectivity of the aircraft. 3D design models that can be shared in real-time has surfaced as an essential technology for integrating and interconnecting different innovations taking place in aviation EWIS. Technology has initiated a trend of digitization across the aviation sector to ensure reliability across the supply chain. Digitized analysis and maintenance are getting adopted as a futuristic approach in aviation EWIS. Such improvements aid the aircraft operators in analyzing the vast amount of data exchanged between different aircraft systems connected through EWIS. 

Manufacturers Embrace Material Science to Improve Wired Data Communication

The development of different wired data communication systems in the aerospace is driving the need for improved materials and better standards. In this scope of application, Ethernet has emerged as the other area of interest for manufacturers owing to the data transfer rate and frequency requirements for modern aircraft. Ethernet cables that transmit up to 10G of data at 600MHz with low loss, lightweight and flexible characteristics are increasingly used in aviation EWIS. Manufacturers in the EWIS market are betting stakes on these cables to gain profit in the long term from their robust and durable attributes, which mitigate expenditure on maintenance and replacements. 

To impart longevity to cables, Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cable jackets are used as a protective coating on cables to protect them from the harsh environment. PolyTetraFluoroEthylene (PTFE) is the other material used by manufacturers to deliver lightweight and optimized protective solution for cables. In fact, jacket cables have taken the shape of a marketing tool where the manufacturers are attracting a larger consumer segment with unique designs and labelling. All these new types of data cables are subjected to rigorous EWIS testing to ensure high performance at the system level.  Jacket blocking, abrasion, and thermal shock are some of the tests performed on these cables before giving them a green signal for entry in the aviation EWIS. 

The complexity and precision required in aviation EWIS amps up its importance, making regulatory interference of great significance. Regulatory authorities have rolled out certification requirements for EWIS, to cover the risk assessment of the wiring system and to set expectations, both on assessing the physical and functional impact of failure. Owing to the complexity in design and network of EWIS, manufacturers are in search of effective methods to engineer fault tree assessments for failures in aviation EWIS. 

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Automations sparks electrification in aviation EWIS

Electrification is gaining momentum in the aviation EWIS ecosystem on the back of increased reliability, easier maintenance, increased payload (i.e. reduced function weight), and lower overall energy demands. Electrical systems are effortlessly replacing conventional pneumatic and hydraulic functions that have been giving a hard time to the manufacturers on time and money front. Automation of aircraft is transforming them into more capable, affordable, secure and safe models of flight. Companies in the aviation EWIS landscape are embracing automation to investigate new approaches and processes to keep a track of entire wiring of EWIS, along with managing the cost and risks. 

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) are introducing digital threads as an approach towards automation. Such developed concepts are eyed as a platform-level approach that covers the entire aircraft along with the wiring systems and is considered one of the most effective ways to approach electrification. Proven and innovative tools like digital threads are equipped with the technology that offers OEMs, the means to satiate the electrification demands of the upcoming generation of aircraft. These digital platforms are all in one solution to meet the demand as well as the guidelines and regulations associated with aviation EWIS.

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