The design and development of more fuel-efficient and lower-emissions aircraft that can still meet commercial criteria, offer longer range, and provide more in-flight services including wireless Internet, video, and telephony services is an enduring requirement for airliner programs.
To help achieve this, a new software application to support aerospace system engineers with the design and validation of fiber-optic cable harnesses has been announced by Trace Technologies. Called Photonic Interconnect Systems Design tool, it has been created to provide the environment for engineers to design and replicate fiber-optic cable harnesses with “right first time” confidence, according to the company.
It will support the development of these next-generation services by providing an environment to design reliable fiber-optic cable harnesses that can contribute to the challenge of taking mass out of aircraft structures.
Geoff Fisher, co-founder of Trace Technologies, explained: “Fiber-optic cabling reduces the weight of aircraft, increases bandwidth, and improves security compared with traditional copper cabling. This means reduced fuel burn, increased range, improved cabin services, and more environmentally friendly flights.
“While the aerospace industry is keen to embrace fiber-optic cabling and the benefits it brings, until now it has been held back from doing so as system engineers have not been given a reliable tool to confidently design harnesses that, when built, work first time.”
Despite the significant benefits gained by using fiber-optic cabling, the industry had been slow to implement it due to the complex nature of the design process, meaning that traditional cabling methods had been favored, said Fisher.
Trace’s new design tool has been created to tackle any issues on screen rather than on the aircraft. It automatically determines if the design meets the system’s power budget and bandwidth requirements and provides complete documentation. The design tool was developed from well-established processes delivered by projects such as LOADNet and the Fiber Optic Harness Group. Both initiatives had companies such as BAE Systems and Airbus within their respective groups.