LORD Corporation Awarded Contract for Korean Utility Helicopter
LORD Corporation — a leader in the management of vibration, noise and motion control — has been selected by Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) and Korean Air (KA) to supply main and tail rotor spherical bearings and dampers for the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) program.
The 8-ton utility transport helicopter, which is slated for first flight in 2010 and production in 2011, is being developed by the Korean Ministry of Defense using a semi-indigenous program. Designed to carry 9 passengers, the new helicopter is intended to replace many of South Korea 's 700 helicopters. While Korean Air will supply KAI with the tail section of the KUH, KAI is in charge of the main rotor design and rotor system integration. KAI and KA jointly selected LORD for this contract.
According to Bernie Chan, Sales & Market Manager for LORD Aerospace and Defense Asia Pacific, design has progressed on a fast-track schedule with Preliminary Design Review carried out in Korea in April, followed by Critical Design Review, which was recently conducted at LORD Corporation's Grandview, Pa. Engineering Center in July.
The main rotor damper uses LORD Corporation's Fluidlastic™ technology, which has become an industry standard for superior noise and vibration isolation, as well as energy dissipation applications, due to its combination of high performance, ease of maintenance and efficient use of space. Fluidlastic technology is currently featured in mounts, lead lag dampers and torque restraints in both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. In this design, the fluid technology is an improvement over traditional dampers as it eliminates the problematic sliding seals typically found in hydraulic dampers. The dampers can be designed with straight viscous damping or inertial damping. This allows performance to be tailored with temperature and frequency.
LORD dampers are routinely designed to meet challenging operating conditions where traditional dampers may fall short, including cold temperature environments and small oscillatory displacements. Since LORD uses fluid to generate damping, a highly fatigue-resistant elastomer can be used in lieu of a high-damped elastomer. This feature allows for a small component size with high endurance life.
While the KUH tail rotor damper is made of a customized elastomer and metal assembly, the main and tail rotor spherical bearings are made of high-capacity laminate (HCL), a technology which LORD was first to apply to helicopters to replace mechanical bearings in order to provide better vibration control and to reduce the number of parts. The elastomers used on these spherical bearings are also customized by LORD to meet the very stringent performance requirement on the KUH.
“With newer and better technologies, the KUH will have a competitive advantage in the market,” said Chan. “We are pleased that KAI and KA recognize this important market strategy and have validated LORD Corporation's technologies and engineering capabilities by selecting us to be part of their indigenous programs. We are very confident that the KHP will be another big Korean success.”
Since February this year, LORD, KAI and KA engineers have been working cohesively to design the four critical components. According to Dr. Seok June, Yee, Korea Aerospace Industries' Chief Engineer for KUH Rotor Design, support from the entire LORD team was remarkable. “We selected LORD because they have the necessary technologies and expertise to help enhance the KUH,” he said. “So far, we are very pleased with the great enthusiasm and dedication that LORD has shown throughout the program. We are also impressed by the results and the flexibility of the LORD team in meeting our tight schedule. We definitely have made the right choice.”
Mr. Suk Jun, Lee, Korean Air Principal Engineer for the KUH Tail Rotor system, was also very pleased with the development progress made by LORD. “We are very impressed by LORD Corporation's flexibility, enthusiasm and support, and we have learned a lot working with them. LORD has very good engineering capabilities and experience, and we are glad that we have selected LORD,” he said.
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