“LiteLinx” Lightweight Aircraft Tiedowns

Client: Navy (NAVAIR Lakehurst)



Challenge:

The chain tie-downs used to secure aircraft to the deck of an aircraft carrier are heavy – nearly 12 lbs a piece. A lighter tie-down design would both reduce the strain on flight crew, as well as make the tie-downs easier to manipulate. Perhaps most importantly, the easier to use tie downs could be operated faster, or by fewer personnel, reducing the amount of manpower required on the flight deck for tie-down operations.

 

Solution:

Templeman Automation, in partnership with Peerless Chain Corporation of Winona, MN, has developed the LiteLinx tie-down design, which reduces weight by 52%. While the tensioning devices and hooks have been redesigned, the greatest advantage of the new design is the innovative chain design that takes advantage of modern design and manufacturing techniques. Real world data collected from pull-tests at Peerless' facilities were used to create a new finite element analysis model of chain under tension that incorporates the complex internal variations in material properties encountered in real chain. A new style of chain, dubbed Asymmetric Reduced Elongated Coined (AREC), was developed, that incorporates Peerless' unique experience with asymmetric chain design with a new link geometry developed at TA. Combined with new commercial coating chemistries and Peerless' steel forging expertise, the new chain is 30% lighter than that currently in use with no loss of strength, improved weather resistance, and only marginally increased cost.

“WTTM” Wireless Track Temperature Measuring System

Client: Army TARDEC


Challenge:

Recent operating conditions in Southwest Asia have significantly challenged the durability of Army track components. Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) vehicles have experienced operating temperatures in the 120-140ºF range, with the temperature of track components sometimes exceeding 250ºF. Track consumables represent the highest cost driver for these vehicles, with elastomeric track components, specifically the track bushing and road wheel backer pads, setting the current durability limits. Acquisition of accurate, real-time measurements of track component temperatures is necessary for establishing the requirements for improved parts and materials.

 

Solution:

TA's Wireless Tank Track Monitoring (WTTM) system uses embedded, battery-free RFID sensor chips. WTTM uniquely combines industry-proven miniature RFID sensor chip technology from partner Phase IV Engineering with wireless, mesh-network telemetry capabilities and ultra-rugged monolithic packaging. Phase IV RFID sensors overcome limitations of access and surface contamination through an advanced ASIC RFID design that enables elastomer-penetrating, multi-point temperature sensing from a battery-free component about the size of a single grain of rice. Because the read range of passive RFID sensors is limited, WTTM applies Phase IV sensor chips in a TA measurement suite that wirelessly transmits real-time data to one or more visualization/storage terminals via a ZigBee mesh network. This allows test personnel on or off a full-speed moving vehicle to monitor track component temperatures, up to 1000 feet away. WTTM has the advantage of having no moving parts or critical mechanical tolerances, allowing the hardware to be fully potted and monolithic.

“Telemachus” Long Distance Remote Maintenance Capability

Client: Navy (NAVSEA Washington Naval Yard)



Challenge:

Onboard diagnosis of aircraft carrier auxiliary equipment by shipyard Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) has been pivotal in correction of mission-critical deficiencies. However, the costs and logistics associated with SME deployment to at-sea carrier locations is prohibitive, and SMEs are limited in number due to extensive training and experience requirements. The development of a portable remote monitoring/diagnostic/assessment capability, or “telemaintenance” system, is required to reduce the frequency of required ship visits by SMEs and increase diagnostic efficiency before and after SME on-ship activities. This system would need to provide SMEs with remote interfaces to a wide variety of inputs, including temperature, pressure, vibration, rotation, audio, video, and other communication modes. Additionally, the system would have to be applicable to a wide variety of auxiliary mechanical systems, and be rugged and portable for shipboard use.

 

Solution:

TA developed “Telemachus” for shipboard telemaintenance consisting of a portable UDP/IP-based video and document sharing module as well as a projective optical diagramming system. Telemachus is ideal for shipboard use because the entire system is fully contained in a single compact carrying case, requires no modification to shipboard equipment, and establishes intuitive, latency-tolerant communications between the SME and the ships force. The core of Telemachus is Navy-customized collaboration software that will requires minimal training and will provide intuitive capabilities for document sharing, text, voice and video chat as well as sharing of hand-held measurements. Additionally, a novel, optical remote-diagramming tool is used to project SME instructional figures directly onto shipboard equipment.

“MaxSpot” Carrier Logistics Tool

Client: Navy (NAVAIR Lakehurst)



Challenge:

The Navy's Carrier Analysis Laboratory use a highly collaborative working group system involving large-scale paper plans of carrier spaces and foam cut-outs to represent aircraft, support equipment, and cargo. Aircraft and equipment layouts are recorded by taking multiple photographs and manually transferring this data to CAD software. This system is time consuming, inefficient, lacks the capability of accurate archiving and internet collaboration, and is space and materials intensive.

 

Solution:

To address this need TA developed an asset tracking physics-based carrier layout tool. Physical interaction between the ship and equipment are created using a physics engine that prevents overlapping components and invalid placements. Assets are tracked through various positions as the mission plan is recorded. As part of the phase II SBIR TA will provide NAVAIR Lakehurst, a fully functional stand-alone spot factor software tool which is current under evaluation by the Carrier Analysis Laboratory.

FlightDeck Logistics Multi-Touch Computing Surface

Client: Navy (NAVAIR Lakehurst)


Figure 1: Current flightdeck logistics using models
Figure 2. ePanel flightdeck logistics solution

Challenge:

Navy planners on shore use a highly collaborative working group system involving large-scale paper plans of carrier spaces and foam cut-outs to represent aircraft, support equipment, and cargo. This system lacks the capability of accurate archiving and internet collaboration, and is space and materials intensive.

 

Solution:

The e-Panel's multi-touch technology allows multiple users to interact intuitively with the graphics and action on a computer screen without using a mouse, menu, or keypad. The use of touch-screens on smart-phones and kiosks has become commonplace, and the gestures for zooming, sliding, and rotating displayed objects are so obvious that detailed instructions are irrelevant. These devices only represent the simplest applications of “natural user interfaces” in which a user controls and explores of the digital world by directly pushing, pulling, sliding, and gesturing on the computer screen. The e-Panel can simultaneously track and interpret over one hundred touch events across the entire display area and is scalable from monitor-sized to room-sized. Plus, multi-finger, multi-hand, and even multi-person gestures can be defined and explored to perform software-specific functions. Additionally, e-Panel is based on all open-source touch interface and dynamics libraries, allowing new applications to be developed on-site, or across the worldwide open-source community.

Touch Table for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Client: National Science Foundation



Challenge:

For decades, America's students have not been keeping up with demand in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education when compared to their peers around the world. This downward trend affects America's future economy, security, and competitiveness. Advancing STEM education for all American students is necessary to nurture innovation, and to ensure long-term economic prosperity. In particular, to address the longstanding decline in enrollment of American students in STEM disciplines, there is a need to foster a culture of enthusiasm regarding STEM from the earliest ages.

 

Solution:

Templeman Automation (TA) and Tufts University propose the utilization of TA's current ePanel technology for STEM education. TA has dubbed the application-specific classroom technology “STEM-Table”. The ePanel hardware is a large-format (32”), collaborative, multi-touch interactive display table with object recognition and tracking capabilities. The ePanel exploits open-software and open-hardware architectures that are ideal for development of novel, engaging educational programs. Envisioned STEM-Table applications include collaborative learning of math and mechanics concepts and cross-curriculum science visualization and augmented reality. These applications intend to capitalize on the natural fascination students exhibit with touch devices like the iPad, and direct them through basic STEM educational goals and multi-touch-enabled curriculum modules. Further, with a large, multi-person form factor, the ePanel enables teamwork and detailed assessment opportunities impossible with small iPhone or even iPad interfaces. The ePanel is currently a mature technology available for home, industrial, and military use. Therefore the proposed innovation and R&D activities are focused on addressing education applications.

“TED” Templeman Embedded Dust Sensor for M1 Ingestion Monitoring

Client: Navy (NAVSEA Washington Naval Yard)



Challenge:

The AGT 1500 engine developed by Honeywell for the M1 Ground Combat Vehicle is believed to suffer premature performance degradation due to ingestion of dust, sand, and FOD (Foreign Object Debris). TA was asked to determine the feasibility of using OEM and original engineering to provide an Embedded Dust Detector (EDD) suitable for near-term deployment aboard the M1 and other military vehicles.

 

Solution:

TA performed a comprehensive analysis of the current state-of-the-art of particle monitoring technologies and developed a trade-space analysis to match these techniques to the specific needs of military vehicles and the M1. This work included detailed studies of the installation environment and development of prototype sensors. It was critical to the proposed application that the selected sensor have a low detection threshold (around 8.4E-5 g/cu.ft. of airborne dust above 5 microns in diameter) and rapid response time (less than 5 seconds optimum).

To evaluate candidate technologies in a mission-relevant scenario, TA developed a sampling tube with representative sensors for testing at Southwest Research Institute (SWRI). In addition, a laboratory particle counter was used. In three days of testing over one hundred flow, dust type, and injection rate test conditions were observed and recorded. In this testing each of the candidate technologies was capable of making the required measurement. However, the particle counter required the most re-configuration for isokinetic sampling and fouled the most easily. The in-line optical techniques were fouled with sufficient dirty water ingress, which could be encountered during fording operations with a modest plenum leak. An inductive loop sensor developed by TA operated almost ideally, detecting even small dust ingestion events and proving to be highly resistant to fouling.