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The coronavirus pandemic has had enormous impacts in world economy, affecting all productive areas. The aeronautical sector, which was one of the most affected, has decided to look into the future with sustainability in mind considering the new regulations governments are implementing. In this post, you will discover where the sector is being led to, how research and development in the field is evolving and how Hot Isostatic Pressing technology helps the industry achieve its new goal towards a sustainable future.

Economic perspective on the aeronautical sector

The impact the global Covid-19 pandemic has had on the aeronautical sector has been huge and sudden. Stopping the spreading of the disease has led countries to close their borders and place mobility restriction, and then the fear of travelling to areas with more covid cases has meant the population has not flown. This has led to a dramatic decrease in flights hitting hard on flight companies, service companies, airport staff and has slowed down or halt supply chains to the industry. According to Statista during the first half of 2020 1.2 millions reduced the total number of passengers worldwide approximately.

Moving forwards from the first half of 2020 and looking at how the better understanding of the pandemic and the adoption of even tougher restriction have influenced air travel, statista points out that during the 12th of October week the amount of programmed flights dropped a 46,4% average if compared to the same period of 2019. If we look at specific countries this drop is even more accused, for example, it was up to a 90% reduction in the number of programmed flights in Italy.

The International Air Travel Association (IATA) has estimated in one of their analysed scenarios that the initial restriction put in place by governments will mean a 370 Billion USD to the world aviation industry.

As for the current scenario, where the need to return back to normal, thanks to an aggressive vaccination campaign worldwide and other preventive measures put in place when flying passengers feel safer and in better control. This has meant that flights being programmed slowly rise and the sector’s economy improve. However, more contagious or more dangerous mutations of the virus suppose a threat to this recovery and is forcing governments yet again to put restrictions in place. This is hindering the recovery of the aeronautical sector.

To face this situation, the aeronautical industry has decided to investigate new opportunities and bet on R&D to reach its sustainability goals while commercial flight companies are reinventing themselves with newer and better safety measures.

R&D in the aeronautical industry aims for a greener future

The images that showed how pollution in China Dropped during March 2020 due to the halt in transport and industrial activity were seen by the whole world and showed one of the positive consequences of the pandemic, the recovery in the environment and the benefits in air quality.

The aeronautical sector is aware of the toll its activity has on climate change and the environment, tighter regulations are pushing the industry to a more sustainable future and new technical solutions have to be developed. This is a critical moment for R&D in the sector for it to achieve a more respectful activity with the environment.

At the virtual Clean Sky fair we can see some of the ongoing projects in Europe, for example:

  • The demonstration of Tech TP engines which aspire to develop a sustainable engine, with low fuel consumption and quieter to be implemented in general aviation or small planes.
  • The UltraFan engine which implements several new technological advancements to reach higher efficiency and cleaner air travel. It also focuses on optimizing the engine´s cowling to reduce its wind drag and increase efficiency.
  • Project SA2FIR is a simulator that will allow engineers to get a better understanding of physical phenomena, acoustics and aerodynamics to design a new range of more eco-friendly engines that lower fuel consumption and noise.
  • The RACER project that combines a ground-breaking wing design with lighter structures.
  • The NextGenCTR project which presents a transmission concept that is separate from the engine as well as an advanced flight control system and other improvements in the fuselage and other parts to optimize flight dynamics.

Hot Isostatic Pressing in this new greener future

Hot isostatic pressing is a manufacturing technology that improves material’s mechanical properties by applying heat and pressure simultaneously. Near Net Shaping by HIP has proven to be manufacturing technology capable of producing high performance parts for these new engines. For example in the new Ultrafan Intermediate pressure  turbine manufactured by ITP and CEIT for Rolls Royce.

Additive manufacturing is also to be a new manufacturing technology by which engineer can design with higher freedom and functionality the components in this new generation of planes and engines. Hot isostatic pressing ensure the mechanical properties and fatigue performance of these future parts will be ready to fly.

Hiperbaric is fully aware of the needs of the aeronautical sector and has devoted a HIP press for its HIP innovation Center in Burgos for companies worldwide to investigate and develop their HIP products. Here you will find the help and knowledge required to achieve success.

Furthermore, Hiperbaric has designed and built a new range of compact, versatile and efficient HIP presses that allow our customers to access highly demanding markets that require excellent mechanical properties of the components or materials.

For more information reach out to us, we will be glad to help out.

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