More Electric Architecture

More Electric Architecture
More Electric Architecture Offers First Major Aircraft Redesign in 50 Years

More Electric Architecture (MEA) is one of Honeywell's most advanced design concepts for building the aircraft of the future. With an inventive architecture for generating, managing and maintaining power on today's and tomorrow's aircraft, this breakthrough technology has major implications for the future of commercial and military aircraft design.

With MEA technology, the weight in an aircraft can be shifted from hydraulic systems and plumbing to passengers, fuel or mission payloads. MEA technology could dramatically reduce per-passenger costs and ticket prices for commercial aircraft, while giving military planes more maneuverability and survivability due to less vulnerability to enemy fire.

The Benefits of MEA

As the next-generation more electric aircraft architecture is adopted, Honeywell’s electric systems and components will deliver significant benefits industry wide. Honeywell’s MEA solutions result in aircraft that:

Reduces the cost of ownership and operation

MEA offers significant costs advantages with lower recurring costs due to fewer parts, integration of key subsystems and multi-use components. It also reduces the overall cost of operation and ownership because MEA helps reduce fuel consumption, increasing overall aircraft performance and energy usage. Reduced maintenance and ground support are additional benefits, adding to lower cost of ownership and operation.

Improves mission performance

MEA enables a more efficient cruise, leading to some fuel savings as well as better use of the aircraft’s engine as a thrust and power generator. There is better power availability through the flight envelope due to the shifting of power extraction from high spool to low spool, improving engine operability.

Increases design flexibility and optimization

MEA eliminates the high temperature ducts and flammable fluids required in traditional aircraft, enabling the introduction of new structural solutions and materials as well as a simpler structure with less shields for heat and fluids protection. MEA also allows for less certification constraints (less fire protection, hydraulic fire shut-off) as well as the use of lighter materials such as aluminum and composites due to its lower running temperatures, making a lighter aircraft and also enabling more design flexibility.

Provides better availability and reliability (simplified maintenance)

Availability and reliability improvement gains with MEA positively affect the value function when life cycle is considered. The integration of power generation leads to more available generation. More redundancy for power generation can be used to design systems with more functional availability. Lower temperature management can be used to extend the life of system components. Reliability and maintenance of aircraft is improved because electric systems are easier to diagnose, monitor and trend. There is better prediction of impending failures and faster diagnostics, meaning less downtime.

Improves passenger comfort

MEA reduces smell-in-cabin problems because the fresh air system is completely independent from the engine and APU oil systems. The cabin pressure is also independent from the engine setting, eliminating any cabin pressure “bumps” for passengers during throttle transients. With MEA, there are fewer hydraulic lines to transmit vibration to the cabin, reducing hydraulic noise in the aircraft’s cabin, thereby improving passengers’ travel experience.

Improves the manufacturing cycle and reduces the cost of acquisition

There are a number of gains in final assembly cycle time with MEA due to suppression of hydraulic and bleed distributions, the possibility to configure and optimize power distribution for assembly and ground test operations and the flexibility in control and monitoring of electrically powered systems (automated flight testing). These manufacturing cycle improvements lead to a lower cost of acquisition.

MEA Applications: The Airbus A380, the F-35 and Beyond

The Airbus A380 airplane is the biggest commercial aircraft ever built, and will be the first to deploy MEA technology. The MEA concept was developed specifically for the A380 because of the aircraft’s sheer size.

The A380 will be the first commercial aircraft to incorporate a Solid State Power Control (SSPC)-based Secondary Electric Power Distribution System (SEPDS) and integrated safety surveillance system, all provided by Honeywell. The SEPDS uses programmable SSPC devices in place of traditional electromechanical circuit breaker technology, providing benefits to the aircraft in terms of load management, fault isolation, diagnostic health monitoring, and improved flexibility to accommodate modifications and system upgrades.

The baseline SEPDS will manage 1500 loads with spare growth capacity to accommodate the control of more than 2000 loads. The SSPC technology was specially developed by Honeywell in order to meet such applications, and is being refined to meet Airbus’ specific requirements on the A380.

More Electric, More Honeywell

Honeywell is a major system supplier with all the technologies needed to generate, convert, distribute and control aircraft power on a more electric aircraft, including:

Variable frequency and DC generation
High voltage distribution
Secondary solid-state distribution (including smart sensing)
High Power/voltage conversion
High power, high speed motors (permanent magnet motors, switch reluctance)

Honeywell's innovative systems are helping its partners bring the value-added aircraft systems of the future to customers. In the last two years alone, Honeywell has developed and demonstrated technical capabilities critical to deploy MEA on large air transport aircraft, such as the Airbus 320- 330, the Boeing 767-777 class plane as well as the Pneumatic System on the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine.

The stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, being built to replace fighters used by the Air Force, Navy and Marines, is expected to be the world’s premier strike aircraft through 2040, with a planned roll-out in 2006. The F-35 will also employ MEA technologies developed by Honeywell.

To solve aircraft-level integration problems, Honeywell created a systems integration concept for use on the F-35 that combines the functions of auxiliary power, environmental controls, and emergency power into a single system. This Power Thermal Management System (PTMS) integrates a turbomachinery system and an electrical power management system, resulting in reduced aircraft weight, length and lifecycle costs and improved reliability.

“At Honeywell, we are committed to maintaining value by bringing MEA to customers,” said Martin Vershoor, Vice President of Engineering and Technology-Honeywell Engines, Systems and Services. “With our extensive product breadth and commitment to systems integration, Honeywell is an obvious choice as a supplier for more electric aircraft.”

What the Future Holds

MEA technologies are continually evolving, and there is opportunity for improvement as systems continue to be enhanced. As MEA technologies advance, smaller components will be used, continuing to reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies.

The long-term goals in an all-electric aircraft, with MEA being the evolutional step. The transition to an all-electric aircraft, which would be controlled by small, computerized electric motors, is still many years in the future. Meanwhile, MEA will bridge two eras in aircraft technology as planes shed some of the traditional pneumatic and hydraulic systems for lighter, simpler, electric and electronic replacements.

For more information on Honeywell's MEA technologies, visit