Arctic temperature no problem for bearings in helicopter searchlightIn the design of its new helicopter searchlight, the Russian aerospace company Transas, needed to factor-in the product's potential operation in Arctic temperatures. Finding bearings that suited the application perfectly from a weight and space saving point of view was one thing, but the extreme temperature was quite another, requiring bearings with some additional, special features.
Transas in St Petersburg is a recognised leader in the development and production of avionics and flight simulators for aeroplane and helicopter crew training at all certification levels. It also designs and manufactures a wide range of display, flight management, map generation and in-flight entertainment systems.
An important selling point of its latest searchlight system, the TSL-1600 is its compact design. All power management, control and system integration circuitry is neatly incorporated into the unit, eliminating the need for any additional space and weight needed for remote junction boxes and intermediate cabling.
The space and weight requirements in the application led Transas to RA Rodriguez, the UK distributor for the Kaydon range of Reali-Slim bearings. The stringent design criteria of the searchlight were met perfectly by the Reali-Slim bearings which are renowned for the ability to make a significant contribution to weight and space savings without compromising the quality and efficiency of the system. Furthermore they provide a large centre diameter through which services can be fed to optimise the compact design.
The Reali-Slim product selected for the Transas application is a special version of the Kaydon J Series pre-lubricated, double-sealed bearing that provides extra protection for critical applications by retaining grease and excluding dust and dirt. It is a four-point contact bearing that can accommo-date any combination of radial, thrust and moment loading. Together, Transas and RA Rodriguez took the J Series as the basis of the bearing design for the TSL-1600 and incorporated further modifications. These included a low temperature aerospace lubricant for reliable operation in frozen environments. And to ensure the internal movement was ideally suited to arduous operation, RA Rodriguez also specified reduced clearance on one of the two bearing positions to prevent problems associated with the searchlight vibrating during flight.
The Transas Kaydon Reali-Slim bearings were manufactured in the US at the Kaydon factory that is certified to AS9100B, the international standard for the aerospace industry. This standard is based on ISO 9001:2000 but has more than 75 additional requirements that are specific to aircraft and aerospace production; it is a pre-requisite for all manufacturers serving this sector.
As well as providing applications support and supplying Transas with a dedicated set of bearings, RA Rodriguez also proved a good source for other design components. These included a small bespoke linear rail. The product, manufactured to a specific design drawing and used in sets of three, is used to move the reflector backwards or forwards to adjust the beam focus.
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