NEW TECHNOLOGIES KEEP P&WC AT LEADING EDGE OF HELICOPTER INDUSTRY: INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENTS ENHANCE TURBOSHAFT PORTFOLIO
Every second, a Pratt & Whitney Canada-powered aircraft takes off or lands somewhere in the world. P&WC is a global leader in the turboshaft civil segment and through a host of cutting-edge technological developments, it is aiming to expand its portfolio and improve its products and services, which enable it to deliver proven, reliable turboshaft power to all segments of the aerospace industry. P&WC is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
Leading the Way in the Turboshaft Segment
Since it began overhauling helicopters in the 1950s, P&WC has made this industry segment a key priority and invested heavily in the turboshaft sector. Today, there are over 8,600 of its helicopter engines in service and 4,300 helicopters currently flying under P&WC power. It has delivered more than 15,000 turboshaft engines with 55 million flying hours to date.
Over the past quarter-century, P&WC has certified an industry-record 100 engines. Its turboshaft portfolio has 34 models, starting with the PT6T-3 TwinPac, which entered service in 1968. The past five years alone have seen three major new turboshaft engine certifications: the PW210S, PW210A and PT6C-67E.
Thanks to P&WC’s dedication to constant innovation, it has built up a diversified portfolio and established itself as a key player in the turboshaft segment. The company has a dependable engine for every mission and application, backed by a world-class customer service organization, a support network dedicated to meeting customers’ needs and access to leading engine technology that complements its own capabilities through Pratt & Whitney and other United Technologies Corp. companies. This has earned it the trust of operators around the world.
Having positioned itself as a leader, P&WC has no intention of slowing down. “We have an established presence in the industry and are pushing forward on multiple fronts for our helicopter operators – including new engines, control systems, customer service solutions and manufacturing technologies,” said Irene Makris, Vice President, Marketing.
New PT6 Engines Deliver Reliable Power and Greater Efficiency
The latest PT6 turboshaft engine is the PT6C-67E, which powers the Airbus H175. It is the first PT6 with dual channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC), enabling improved fuel burn and handling while reducing pilot workload. The superior performance of the new engine helped the H175 to achieve two time-to-climb records during pre-certification testing: 6,000 metres in 6 minutes 54 seconds and 3,000 metres in 3 minutes 10 seconds.
Also on the PT6C front, P&WC has invested significantly in the PT6C-67C, which powers the Finmeccanica AW139 and is winning accolades from customers thanks to its impressive power over the entire operating envelope. It has best-in-class power reserve and outstanding power-to-weight ratio, with no limitations in a wide range of conditions, including hot and high. It also boasts exceptional durability and reliability and low operating costs, with the engine hardware meeting or exceeding expectations after 100 overhauls.
The PT6C-67A, meanwhile, leverages P&WC’s latest design technology and best practices for improved performance. It can operate vertically like a turboshaft and horizontally like a turboprop.
P&WC is also growing its turboshaft family with its next-generation PW210 for intermediate- and medium-class helicopters, which entered into service in 2015 as the engine of choice for Finmeccanica’s AW169. As the benchmark for a new generation of twin-engine helicopters, it was designed with the operator in mind and sets high standards in fuel burn, power-to-weight ratio and operating economics.
Looking further ahead, the company is exploring opportunities in the 1,800 to 2,000 shaft horsepower envelope through existing engine upgrades and new advanced engines. “We have been successfully testing some new technologies, and what’s more, we have shared our progress and results with our customers and are working on the next steps,” noted Makris. In pursuit of optimal performance, P&WC is also integrating geared turbofan technology from P&W’s PurePower® PW1000 engine and its own PurePower® PW800 engine into powerplants still on the drawing board.
Developing Cutting-Edge Engine Control Systems
As a leader in engine control technologies, P&WC is committed to leading the development of cutting-edge FADEC technology and bringing it to all new turboshaft engines. “While the industry still tends to focus solely on materials and aerodynamics, we have expanded our focus to include controls and software,” remarked Makris. “Our ability to engage with customers to drive technological advancement through integrated software and engine solutions across all industry segments is a significant competitive advantage.”
FADEC is an advanced control system that enables the engine to perform at maximum efficiency. It simplifies engine operations, reduces pilot workload and provides greater power response, performance and aircraft availability. The technology’s patented noise-cancellation capabilities also enhance cabin comfort. P&WC has implemented FADEC on 15 different engine models in the past 10 years. It most recently entered into service on the PW210S, PT6C-67E and PW210A engines powering respectively the Sikorsky S-76D, H175 and AW169 helicopters, building on P&WC’s strong heritage since the 1970s.
Empowering Customers with Innovative Service Solutions
P&WC does more than just build engines. As Timothy Swail, Vice President, Customer Programs, noted: “We consider the entire customer experience as we develop new products and services to evolve our support ecosystem. We believe in a holistic approach meant to empower our customers’ businesses and the missions they fly.”
This is epitomized by P&WC’s Oil Analysis Technology (PWCOAT) program currently being developed in collaboration with customers. It introduces a new level of performance analysis to serve operators. An innovative way of analyzing oil samples and identifying minute metal traces, PWCOAT enables proactive maintenance intervention to maximize engine time on wing. It has the potential to far exceed the efficacy of any existing oil-debris monitoring technology.
A growing number of customers are embracing P&WC’s Flight Acquisition, Storage and Transmission (FAST™) turnkey technology for aircraft and engine diagnostics, prognostics and health management. “This state-of-the-art solution captures, analyzes and sends full flight data intelligence to customers within minutes of landing, enabling them to maximize aircraft availability, optimize maintenance planning, reduce operating costs and avoid delays and cancellations,” said Swail. “With FAST™, we are taking ‘rapid response’ to an entirely new level.”
P&WC is also in the final testing stages of its cutting-edge e-commerce web portal, MyP&WC Power, which will be rolled out to all customers this year. MyP&WC Power will simplify online business with P&WC – customers can rapidly find, order, track and pay for parts and technical publications, initiate rental orders and returns, and much more.
Pursuing New Manufacturing Technologies
Finally, P&WC is undertaking significant investments in research and development for advanced manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing and metal injection molding. Its partnerships with universities, combined with long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with machine original equipment manufacturers, have enabled it to pursue the industrialization of intelligent manufacturing cells, using in-line measuring and visual inspection, machine health monitoring and automatic program compensation.
From engine design to manufacturing technologies, P&WC is continuing to help define the future of the global helicopter industry through its innovative developments. “There is tremendous activity underway to expand the reach of our turboshaft engines. Much of that rich innovation is poised to move from our facilities into our customers’ hands in the near future,” concluded Makris.
Come and see us at HAI Heli-Expo, booth # 1817. Interested operators are invited to drop by P&WC’s booth to speak with a customer service representative.