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B Turbine-Engine Industry Workshop ON JANUARY 22-23, 1998, the Committee on Materials Science and Engi- neering: Forging Stronger Links to Users of the National Materials Ad- visory Board hosted a workshop on the linkages and exchange of infor- mation in the turbine-engine industry. This was the second of three workshops intended to identify (1) user needs and business practices that promote or restrict the incorporation of materials and processes innovation, (2) how priorities in materials selection are determined, (3) mechanisms to improve links between the materials community and the engineering disciplines, and (4) programs (e.g., education, procedures, information technology) to improve these linkages. As shown in the agenda in Box B-1, the workshop was divided into four sessions. The first two sessions were devoted to different sectors of the turbine- engine industry primary manufacturing and supply industries. The third session was devoted to business issues. The fourth session was devoted to a discussion of the distinguishing characteristics of the turbine-engine industry and the linkages among primary industries, supplier industries, and universities in the develop- ment of advanced technologies. Aircraft turbine engines are the single largest U.S. export product. The in- dustry serves both commercial and military customers, whose missions, needs, and priorities are very different. The balance of effort between these two classes of customers is subject to business cycles. In terms of materials technology, this industry is closely linked to the turbine power-generation industry. Although the aircraft turbine business is closely regulated by the Federal Aviation Administra- tion, engine producers and the regulatory agency enjoy a productive relationship because they share goals with respect to flight safety. At first glance, the jet engines industry appears to be a conventional materi- als supply chain involving raw materials suppliers, value-added distributors, parts 91
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92 MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING BOX B-1 Agenda for the Turbine Engine Industry Workshop January 22, 1998 8:30 a.m. Convene and Introductions, Dale F. Stein, Committee Chair 8:50 a.m. Overview from the Design Perspective, Ambrose Hauser, GE Aircraft Engines 9:10 a.m. Technology Acquisition and Insertion, Michael Goulette, Rolls Royce PLC 9:30 a.m. Overview of Performance Risks, Gary Roberge, Praff and Whitney PRIMARY MANUFACTURING SESSION (Malcolm Thomas, Session Chair) 9:50 a.m. Historical Case Study: Single-Crystal Blades, Anthony Giamei, United Technologies 10:10 a.m. Current Case Study: Metal Matrix Composites, Kathy Stevens, Wright Laboratories 10:30 a.m. Current Case Study: Titanium Aluminides, James Williams, GE Aircraft Engines 10:50 a.m. Integration of Materials with Design Requirements, Peter Shilke, GE Corporation 11 :1 0 a.m. Discussion SUPPLY INDUSTRIES SESSION (Neil Paton, Session Chair) 1:20 p.m. Historical Case Study: Thermal Barrier Coatings, Harry Brill Edwards, consultant 1:40 p.m. Disk Process Modeling, Robert Noel, Ladisch Company, Incorporated 2:00 p.m. Alloys Design, Greg Olson, QuestTek Innovations 2:20 p.m. Strategies to Reduce Cycle Times and Hit Opportunity Windows, Gernant Maurer, Special Metals Corporation 2:40 p.m. Discussion 5:20 p.m. Adjournment January 23, 1998 BUSINESS ISSUES SESSION (William Manly, Session Chair) 8:35 a.m. Business Aspects, Ken Harris, Cannon-Muskegon Corporation 8:55 a.m. Road maps: Advanced Turbine Systems, William Parks, U.S. Department of Energy 9:15 a.m. FAA Regulatory Issues, Mark Fulmer, FederalAviation Administration 9:35 a.m. Liability and Regulatory Issues, Tony Freck, consultant 9:55 a.m. DARPA Insertion Program, Larry Fernbacher, Technology Assessment and Transfer 10:1 5 a.m. Discussion DISCUSSION SESSION 1:00 p.m. Generic Linkages in the Jet Engine Industry 2:00 p.m. Strengths and Weaknesses of Linkages in the Jet Engine Industry L 3 00 p.m. Strategies for Improving Linkages in the Jet engine Industry
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TURBINE ENGINE INDUSTRY WORKSHOP makers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), all of whom are 93 involved to varying degrees in the process of developing and commercializing new mate- rials. This rather conventional structure belies many unique features of the jet engines business that can only be seen by examining the links and interactions among supply chain participants. At one end of the chain are the raw materials suppliers, mainly mining and metal-refining companies involved in the production of nickel, titanium, and a host of alloying elements ranging from aluminum to zirconium. Typical jet en- gine alloys are made up of 10 or more metallic elements, most of which are supplied by independent companies. Generally, these companies supply their products to many industries for uses other than jet engines and, therefore, are not commercially dependent on the jet engine business for their livelihood. Because jet engine alloys are a complex and carefully controlled mixture of many elements, the supply chain role also includes "misologists," in this case specialty metal suppliers who melt and mix the ingredients of jet-engine alloys and also perform a host of other value-added activities to ensure the quality and integrity of the alloys. The third major link in the jet-engine supply chain is of the parts maker. Companies in this position generally focus on a particular manufacturing tech- nology (e.g., casting, forging, or machining). They convert the metal alloys pro- duced by specialty metal suppliers into finished components for installation into jet engines. One simple, but significant, characteristic of parts makers is that they buy by the pound and sell by the piece. Parts makers sell components to the jet engine manufacturer, or, more accurately, they are contracted by the engine manufacturer to produce components. The engine manufacturer inspects the parts, accepts or rejects them, and incorporates them into the engines. Engine producers are not at the end of the supply chain but are a step closer to the end of the chain than is generally assumed. In the commercial aviation market, jet engines are often sold directly to the final customer the commercial airline company rather than to the airframe manufacturer. Thus, Delta Airlines rather than Boeing is likely to be the jet engine producer's customer. Although the structure of this supply chain is unremarkable, the nature of the interactions among the members is unique. One unique feature of the jet-engine supply chain is that large parts of it are made up of technological oligopolies. For instance, three or fewer producers of superalloy, producers of titanium, forgers, and foundries service the entire industry. These oligopolies combined are respon- sible for producing a significant fraction of the technological content and the majority of the weight of an engine. Unlike the raw materials suppliers, these companies are almost entirely dependent on the jet-engine business for their livelihood. Consequently, whereas it might be assumed that they would enjoy certain oligopoly privileges and be able to extract excess profits, there is little evidence of this occurring.
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94 MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING NEW MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT: INCENTIVES AND BARRIERS In the discussion of driving forces for materials selection and the implemen- tation of new materials technology, workshop participants pointed out that the OEM's design organizations ultimately select materials on the basis of potential performance enhancements and customer requirements for cost benefits. Many workshop participants felt that the industry is undergoing an uneasy shift from performance-based materials selection processes to processes based on both cost and performance. Because customers include military aviation, commercial avia- tion, and electric utilities, performance and cost needs vary and change fre- quently, which makes it difficult for materials developers to establish consistent research objectives. The jet-engine industry does not have an obvious technology strategy (road map) for developing commercially driven, next-generation products. Engine manu- facturers do not disclose their thoughts on future material needs to suppliers be- cause the structure of the industry and the relationships with end-users makes it difficult to limit the diffusion of a new technology long enough for an innovator to sustain a technical competitive advantage from materials technologies. Thus, even though engine manufacturers have proprietary road maps, there is no agreement on industry-wide development goals. The Department of Energy' s Advanced Turbine Systems and National Aeronautics and Space Administration's High Speed Civil Transport programs have come closest to developing program road maps, probably because they were designed as precompetitive technology development programs. Workshop participants identified three characteristics of the jet-engine in- dustry that encourage the development and implementation of new materials: · The industry is aware that many improvements in engine performance have resulted from improvements in materials capabilities. For example, stringent performance requirements led to the development and introduc- tion of multiple generations of wrought and cast nickel-base alloys with increasingly higher temperature capabilities. · The industry is convinced that improvements in materials can signifi- cantly enhance customer-driven engine performance metrics. · The industry recognizes the potential payoffs of future materials improve- ments. For example, improvements could decrease specific fuel consump- tion, reduce component or system weight, increase thrust-to-airflow ratio, and/or improve the durability and reliability of jet-engine systems. The workshop participants then identified business and technological factors that acted as barriers to the development and introduction of new materials: · The industry was established as a research and development (R&D) in- dustry that has relied heavily on government funding for the development
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TURBINE ENGINE INDUSTRY WORKSHOP 95 of leapfrog technologies. As a result, the industry has historically pursued R&D on high-risk materials and processes, which have significantly im- proved both military and commercial aircraft engines. Despite the histori- cal focus on high-risk technologies, the industry is extremely cautious about integrating new materials into service because of cost and/or the risk of failures. · Manufacturers and end users both require a lengthy, expensive qualifica- tion cycle to develop a thorough characterization of the performance, durability, and reliability of new materials before they can be considered ~ · · . . for Insertion In engines. · The cost of development rises steeply as a prelaunch effort progresses from basic research to the demonstration of full-sized components. · The time required to complete characterization and qualification phases is longer than the engine design cycle. As a result, support for technology development is generally inconsistent and discontinuous. · Because of the complexity of engine systems, it is difficult to assess the potential impact of new materials on performance. Poor communications between mechanical designers and materials devel- opers have resulted in "missed opportunities" for the introduction of new materials. · New materials often originate in the engine manufacturer's laboratories, which discourages suppliers from developing new materials. Requirements for multiple sources of materials and the absence of alter- native markets are disincentives for materials suppliers to develop new materials/processes. · The profit margin for engine manufacturers is narrow because their re- cently deregulated, financially sophisticated customers (airlines) have struggled to maintain their own profitability. . . IMPROVING LINKAGES Workshop participants suggested that the following steps be taken to im- prove linkages between the MS&E community and engine manufacturers: Maintain consistent funding throughout the development cycle, from re- search through insertion. Establish collaborative precompetitive programs, with suppliers and en- gine manufacturers working in teams on critical materials technologies for more directed explorations of the transition from research to devel- opment. · Maintain significant industry involvement in university research pro- grams, and target specific gaps in knowledge with regard to new materials and processes.
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96 MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING · Provide standardize test methods and specifications to suppliers. · Focus materials research on near-term, incremental, cost-effective tech- nologies. De-emphasize high-risk, leapfrog technologies. Establish general industry guidelines, based on an open exchange of in- formation among suppliers and engine builders, that state specific needs and goals in terms of materials and processes. Make greater use of computer modeling (e.g., process models, thermo- dynamic and kinetic models of structural development, life prediction mod- els) to reduce the cost, risk, and time involved in materials development. Put more emphasis on business metrics (especially manufacturing cost and life-cycle cost analyses) in selecting and evaluating R&D programs. Involve certification authorities early in the technology development cycle. Make use of consortia and university centers of excellence for pre- competitive programs. Establish a forum for engine designers, material suppliers, and parts sup- pliers to reach a consensus on the probability and economic viability of advanced materials for the jet engine of tomorrow.
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