In the last decade, fuel tank inerting systems have transcended from a niche market of military aircraft into wide scale proliferation on commercial airliners. In fact, almost all commercial airliners have a fuel tank inerting system onboard, many of which include systems and components supplied by Parker Aerospace. These systems reduce the flammability risk inside the fuel tank by supplying an inert gas into the space above the liquid fuel. These systems rely on a source of pressurized air, typically engine bleed air, to provide the feed stock for the inert gas.
As the airframers of commercial airliners move away from bleed air systems and toward more electric aircraft in the future, an opportunity is presented for a fuel tank inerting technology that does not rely on high pressure air. Moreover, this same inerting technology could be applied to other aircraft in which bleed air is in limited supply or unavailable altogether, such as military rotorcraft, small commercial transports, and business jets.
This opportunity is setting the stage for the next evolution in fuel tank inerting systems: catalytic inerting. In 2016, Parker Aerospace and Phyre Technologies, Inc. signed an exclusive agreement to develop Phyre’s patented ullage-recirculating catalytic inerting technology for aerospace applications. Since that time, Parker has been actively developing the system and its components for high performance, high durability, and low weight. Significant advancements have been made in the development of the catalytic reactor, condenser and other components. At the same time, Parker has grown its testing infrastructure and analytical capabilities to support a full-scale program.
Fuel tank inerting systems perform the critical function of reducing the flammability potential of the mixture of gases in the ullage space above the fuel in aircraft fuel tanks. Catalytic inerting advances fuel tank inerting technology beyond the current applications, in which inert nitrogen gas is generated from high-pressure engine bleed air inside of an air separation module (ASM).
Read our previous blog post that discusses how catalytic inerting technology differs from today’s traditional ASM-based method.
Most contemporary commercial airliners use engine bleed air for many purposes ranging from cabin pressurization and environmental control systems (ECS) to anti-icing, water and hydraulic system pressurization, and ASM-based fuel tank inerting. While an ASM-based inerting system uses far less bleed air than the ECS and anti-ice systems, the extraction of bleed air from the engine results in decreased engine efficiency. The larger engines of a typical commercial aircraft have the capacity to supply bleed air for these subsystems; but other aircraft types – helicopters, turboprop-powered transports, business jets, and newer more-electric aircraft – have less bleed air to spare.
A primary benefit offered by catalytic inerting technology is that it requires no engine bleed air. Circulation of ullage gas through the system and back to the fuel tank is provided by a low-power consumption electric blower.
The blowers and other electrically powered components in the closed-loop catalytic fuel inerting system call for only a modest amount of electricity. Although the electrical power required by the system is supplied by the engine generator, the relatively low power consumption of the catalytic inerting system results in less parasitic power loss to the engine than ASM inerting systems. This is a principal reason why catalytic inerting is ideally suited for aircraft applications where there is little or no engine bleed air available, especially rotary wing aircraft and more-electric commercial aircraft.
The demanding missions that helicopters fly – whether military or commercial – require the aircraft to have available as much power as possible. By eliminating the need for engine bleed air to drive fuel tank inerting, catalytic systems directly support the need for greater range as well as higher payload and takeoff weight.
A catalytic fuel inerting system is largely self-contained and can occupy a smaller envelope than its ASM-based counterpart. These features enable a catalytic inerting system to be neatly packaged as a line-replaceable unit (LRU) and facilitate ready integration within the airframes of both new helicopter platforms and existing ones. Furthermore, the general shape and positioning of helicopter fuel tanks enables close coupling of the catalytic inerting system with minimal external plumbing and structure.
As part of its future vertical lift (FVL) modernization efforts, the United States Army is developing its Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programs, targeted to be operational before 2030. Parker’s catalytic fuel inerting systems is ideally suited to such applications.
“Our development program for catalytic fuel inerting systems is proving that the technology will be a viable option for future aircraft programs, especially vertical lift platforms. We are looking at all options to successfully bring this technology to the marketplace.”
— John Hayden, business development director, Parker Aerospace Fluid Systems Division (FSD)
Parker Aerospace engineers have been maturing catalytic fuel inerting by iteratively proving and improving the technology. The Parker team is working to reduce system complexity, increase component durability, and fine-tune the catalytic reactor for maximum performance and life - all while keeping a close eye on procurement and maintenance cost targets.
Stay tuned to the aerospace blog for updates to the Parker Aerospace vision of the future for aircraft fuel tank inerting systems.
Leading with purpose
After more than a century of experience serving our customers, Parker is often called to the table for the collaborations that help to solve the most complex engineering challenges. We help them bring their ideas to light. We are a trusted partner, working alongside our customers to enable technology breakthroughs that change the world for the better.
Follow Parker Aerospace on LinkedIn and keep up with the latest products and technologies Parker is developing for flight control, hydraulic, fuel, fluid conveyance, lubrication, and pneumatic systems.
This article contributed by Bryan Jensen, senior principal engineer, Parker Fluid Systems Division.
Designing new products, and new categories of products, often involve solving problems that have not previously been confronted. Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know. So, it’s important to work with people who can ask the right questions and help bring together the critical pieces of a solution.
Companies like Uber already know how to efficiently move people by car from point A to point B in crowded communities. But they don’t know as much about urban transportation by air, which many see as the future of commuting, and a viable way for people to avoid traffic congestion on the ground. Uber Elevate is looking at electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as an affordable way to decrease commute time while eliminating fossil fuel emissions and noise pollution. This is a new market within aerospace called urban air mobility (UAM).
UAM travel takes companies beyond current core competencies and into unknown territory. It forces engineers to think differently about commuting and find solutions to problems they could not anticipate in giving flight to a new type of aircraft. Parker Aerospace’s Gas Turbine Fuel Systems Division (GTFSD) is in a unique position with an extensive pedigree to support companies as they develop the first generation of UAM aircraft.
Parker’s experience designing thermal management (TM) solutions for U.S. military aircraft includes aerospace coolers (e.g. heat exchangers and liquid-cooled chassis), single- and two-phase liquid cooling solutions with cold plates, cooling pumps, and liquid-filled enclosures, which are likely technologies to be transferred into the development of electric aircraft used for urban mobility. Experience with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal agencies could also save companies time and expense meeting regulatory and other government obligations.
Sophisticated electronic systems used in defense applications are creating significant increases in power densities on various military platforms. Many of the leading TM technologies in use today reside within one-time-use missile systems. However, other emerging military applications on aircraft, ships, and submarines add more layers of complexity to TM applications. They often have multiple pieces of heat-generating hardware in close proximity to each other, requiring greater levels of heat dissipation and control over multiple uses.
Parker Aerospace is overcoming heat problems in military applications with new approaches in TM design. Several use fluids to manage heat. Single-phased cooling works by transferring heat through fluids only. Two-phased cooling turns fluids into gas, which is a more efficient way to dissipate heat. Both are used in closed-loop systems, meaning the fluids and gas stay contained. Parker has deep experience in both cooling methods.
A liquid-cooled enclosure manages heat at its source. Components completely enclosed in dielectric or similar fluids that don’t conduct electricity can safely function while the fluid absorbs and dissipates the heat from the components. Parker TM enclosures function as mechanical structures to protect sensitive electronics from shock, vibration, heat, and other environmental threats.
Heat rejection technologies also provide cooling with fluid in space-constrained environments, transferring large amounts of heat from fluids to surrounding air or to secondary fluids. Liquid-cooling technologies can be applied to chassis and other components, but also to entire systems within aircraft.
Another TM approach uses cold plates, which provide localized cooling of hot spots. These cooling solutions are suitable for power electronics and computing applications. For example, heat-generating circuit cards can be mounted on the face of cold plates. Where the circuit card touches the cold plate, the liquid is heated, moved, and cooled down with a radiator-like arrangement, which then returns cool fluid to the heat source. Like enclosures, cold plates could become part of a larger structure to add functionality. Imagine a heat exchanger that becomes a ring around the outside of a jet engine.
Read our prior blog article to learn more about thermal management in defense applications: Selecting a Thermal Management System Supplier for Aerospace and Defense
Parker’s experience outside the aerospace and defense industries can also benefit urban air mobility aircraft, an emerging market in the aerospace industry. The company’s large and diverse portfolio of manufacturing know-how in many industries is being applied to the challenges faced by UAM aircraft. Macro-laminate bonding TM (fusion bonding), two-phase evaporative cooling, and vacuum brazing all have benefits to offer TM challenges.
With conventional brazing, for example, it is difficult to make small passageways void of flux for efficient fluid passage, particularly if the geometries of the passageways are complex. But with vacuum brazing, the intermediate materials do not contaminate passageways. Fusion Bonding takes place at the molecular level and high aspect ratio microchannels are possible, completely free of residual debris.
SprayCoolTM technology is a technique in which liquid droplets are sprayed directly onto hot components. When the droplets evaporate, they take excess heat with the evaporated fluid. The liquid and vapor mixture can then be transferred to a heat exchanger where the vapor is cooled, condensed, and recycled within a closed system.
In the not-so-distant future, cold plates are expected to become more sophisticated for all-electric aircraft. Right now, the U.S. military is the leading customer for the next generation of cold plates being developed. New cold plates are expected to become more common in commercial applications. They will also see extensive use in the air mobility market. In addition, as commercial transports continue to evolve and become more eco-friendly, there will also be a need for cold plate technologies in commercial transports.
Parker divisions collaborate with many diverse customers and develop solutions that are unique and valuable to specific customer applications.
“Solving problems is sometimes achieved by using technologies of which customers are not aware of. Design and engineering expertise within a broad range of technologies offers Parker customers a wide array of options to pursue, which solve not only technology challenges, but also minimize risks, reduce carbon footprints, improve performance, and achieve other corporate goals.”
— Roy McEvoy, director of business development at Parker’s Gas Turbine Fuel Systems Division
As a trusted partner, Parker's team members work alongside customers to enable technology breakthroughs that change the world for the better. Parker's Purpose is at the core of everything we do. Watch the introduction video with Parker's CEO Tom Williams.
This blog was contributed by Michael Humphrey, business development manager for thermal management solutions, Gas Turbine Fuel Systems Division of Parker Aerospace.
As advanced manufacturing factories gain importance, manufacturers must prioritize what benefits and supporting programs will prepare their factories to best meet the evolving needs of their customers.
The benefits of smart manufacturing facilities are immense.
Successful factories need a shared vision of achievable goals throughout the organization. They align their technology assets to benefit strategic business functions for OEM assembly, testing, and aftermarket needs. They collect and use the right data sets to support wise decision making that maintains high product quality and productivity. They educate the entire organization on what is possible.
At Parker Aerospace’s Hydraulic Systems Division (HSD), factories of the future begin with the design of their products, and the components they purchase to manufacture products. Products strengthened by big data not only help manufacture, process, and validate new products, but also track, troubleshoot, and maximize the entire life cycles of products.
Within HSD, Parker customers range from large aircraft OEMs to small businesses making one-of-a-kind machines. Meeting many types of progressive manufacturing objectives from customers means starting with a clean sheet of paper and re-imaging pretty much everything about the HSD factory and operations in Kalamazoo, MI.
Priorities at the HSD headquarters included accelerating the velocity of products through the facility through equipment optimization. With purchases of new, universal hydraulic test stands, the Kalamazoo facility will go from 83 tests stands to less than 40. The reduction in test stand configurations is changing from more than 70 down to just 16.
The new test stands are strategically deployed for optimum operational efficiency. They require less service than previous equipment and ease operator training burdens. In multiple cases, a single test stand that performs multiple tests replaces multiple tests stands. All common stands are now capable of running all part numbers.
Test stand configurations The reduction in test stand configurations went from more than 70 down to just 16. The new test stand configurations include:
Logistically, HSD products now move on a simplified, linear path through the Kalamazoo factory, which streamlines processing instead of bouncing products from corner to corner multiple times before they leave the building. Faster throughput speeds Parker’s ability to respond to customer needs. Overall, the HSD facility will reduce required floor space by 10,000 square feet. Fewer machines taking up less floor space also gives this HSD factory the flexibility to reconfigure the overall floor plan in the future and continually improve the flow of products through the plant to further increase efficiency.
The collection and use of data at many additional points in a product’s lifecycle are also improving Parker’s ability to meet and exceed increasing customer expectations. New types of data are collected before the product goes out the door, thereby establishing a digital “fingerprint” for each product.
“We integrate product data collected during manufacturing and acceptance testing into our new test stands, so when a product leaves our factory, we have a baseline ... If a pump were to come back from the field, we don’t have to go digging through paperwork to compare test and performance metrics. The product itself tells us its history via a cloud-based data storage and access.”
— Chad Vliek, engineering director, Hydraulic Systems Division
In aerospace applications, for example, Parker monitors parameters like pump temperatures and pressures to help predict when aircraft operators are likely to see a failure on an aircraft. Working in concert with Parker’s on-board predictive analytics, we can significantly reduce the operator’s unscheduled maintenance and dispatch interruptions. “When we connect a product to a new test stand and have all the data, it’s like a doctor listening to a heartbeat,” says Vliek. “It allows us to look inside, compare the data to standards, and diagnose much more quickly.”
Parker’s new test stands allow dynamic pump data to be saved from the test stands, creating a profile for the individual pump that can be referenced over time. When a component returns from the field, the saved test data can be referenced for comparison. The component-specific data also allows for insight into the overall part family or from changes to manufacturing processes.
Understanding what fails, why, and when, reduces needed inventory and the time it takes to return a customer’s product to service. Documenting big data also supports Parker Quality systems like AS9100 for aerospace and ISO 14001 for environmental compliance, enabling real-time statistical process control and continuous improvements on future products.
Becoming increasingly data-driven is linked to cost savings, quality improvements, and improved customer satisfaction. The proper collection, use, and management of data has always been part of the culture within Parker Hannifin. Today, we are working to integrate our digitized designs, operations, and quality inspections to provide a comprehensive dataset for each product we manufacture.
In recent years Parker has implemented a Likely to Recommend (LTR) process, also known as a “net promoter score,” across the organization to receive timely feedback from customers. The LTR process has been applied to manual and digital transactions, customers looking up specific support information online, requesting a general quote, and many other touchpoints across all Parker divisions. The sea of data provided gives valuable insight for analysts to understand and prioritize how to continuously improve the customer experience.
Change can be disruptive. So before change began at Parker’s HSD factory in Kalamazoo, the company held numerous Kaizen events to integrate “lean,” safety, and training considerations into the transformation process.
“We took equipment operators with us when evaluating new test stands,” explains Vliek. “We asked for their input and worked collaboratively.” Involving employees at this early stage created excitement for the new facility and helped people embrace the program.
Nearly every employee had opportunities for input. Some produced “value stream” maps. Others used PVC pipe and cardboard to simulate the new machines and create their assembly line of the future. By demonstrating the new operational flow through the factory, they improved assembly and testing processes.
Training employees on how to operate new test stands resulted in the largest benefit to HSD. Previously, Parker had to train each employee on 10 to 15 stands. Now, each employee becomes an expert in the operation of a single test stand. This one change will result in reducing employee’s test stand training time by 80 to 90 percent.
Worker safety also improved by moving to our universal test stands. Unlike old test stands, new test stands utilize full lockouts during operation and maintenance. Locked glass doors create a physical barrier to keep employees safe. Noise output is also being reduced.
With fewer, more efficient machines, HSD also expects to see reductions in energy usage and cost.
In some cases, HSD automated tasks with simple robots to improve safety (e.g., pressurization process). Other “dirty, dull, or dangerous” tasks are performed by “cobots,” to remove tedious and repetitive motion activities that lead to carpal tunnel and other medical/health issues. These and other improvements move the factory closer to our zero accidents and zero-defect goals.
Looking ahead, Parker will evaluate using vision systems for inspecting products and other automated equipment for aiding assembly. “Our quality inspections begin with materials received before we begin production,” says Vliek. “This technology and future investments will help us identify potential issues earlier.”
One such sub-tier product is steel barrels for Parker’s large 5,000 psi pumps. Parker has recently invested significant capital in advanced machinery to produce the steel barrels and another machine to apply bronze plating to the barrels. Maintaining barrel manufacturing and plating capabilities in-house as a core competency ensures our differentiated products remain competitive and of the highest quality.
HSD customers expect quality products. Investing in equipment, people, and process improvements reduces the opportunity for product variability. Using big data to prioritize improvement initiatives creates maximum quality and the agility to go beyond today’s expectations and achieve what is possible tomorrow.
This article was contributed by Matt Webster (left), business unit manager, and Chad Vliek (right), division engineering manager, at Parker Aerospace’s Hydraulic Systems Division.
The use of composite materials for aircraft wing structures is steadily increasing. Lightweight and strong, they reduce weight, increase fuel efficiency, and are easy to shape, assemble and repair. Today’s advanced manufacturing methods help aircraft manufacturers build wings faster and more economically, which in turn, is increasing the demand for composites in the commercial aviation sector.
Composite material, however, is less conductive than the aluminum traditionally used in aircraft wings. This means that when lightning strikes an aircraft — a common occurrence, happening to virtually every plane during its service — mechanisms must be in place to mitigate its effect and protect critical equipment from combustion and damage.
In this blog we will explore:
To learn more about lightning-protection equipment requirements and new technologies, download our white paper, "Composite Materials for Aircraft Wing Structures Are Increasing the Need for Lighting Protection Equipment".
When lightning strikes, it usually makes contact at the fuselage, top and bottom of wing surfaces, and the tip of the vertical tail. A large amount of electricity is distributed over the entire surface of the aircraft. Without proper mitigation, energy can travel to fuel lines and create a dangerous arcing condition and potential explosion.
Aluminum, used in fuselage and wing construction, can readily conduct the electricity from the lightning strike. The current will move across the aircraft’s skin and pass back to the atmosphere. Composite materials do not possess the same conductive qualities. In order to take advantage of the benefits of composite materials, aircraft designers create and install light-weight metal mesh to a thick outer layer of fiberglass. This solution spreads the electrical charge over the aircraft’s exterior, away from combustible lines and components, and the interior carbon fiber body structure. Additionally, equipment is incorporated in order to mitigate the risk of arcing and combustion where sections of metal, joints and fasteners, for example, are connected to carbon fiber composite near areas of special concern, like fuel tanks.
Static dissipating tubes, also known as fuel and vent line isolators, play an integral role in controlling lightning’s energy flow. By allowing the fuel system architecture to have a resistance value higher than the outer composite structure, isolator tubes permit limited current flow to minimize arcing and allow static dissipation. Static dissipating tubes can serve as an extra safety measure for conventional metal aircraft as well.
As aircraft manufacturers increase the production of composite wings, lightning-protection equipment suppliers will need to streamline their productivity and invest in new manufacturing technology areas to add value for customers. Key areas of focus include:
Advanced robotic technology – can lower the costs and achieve zero defects for lightning protection equipment products while ensuring repeatability.
Additive manufacturing – also known as 3-D printing, reduces waste, speeds production, and enables designs.
Comprehensive testing services – must go hand-in-hand with the manufacturing process, beginning at the product development stage and continuing through the certification process.
Advanced simulation software – new software algorithms can precisely calculate load paths and lightning paths, helping aerospace engineers know exactly where to distribute composite fibers based on their strength and where to install connections and inline lightning dissipation components.
What to look for in a lightning-protection equipment supplier
Aircraft manufacturers should look for partners that can collaborate with them in driving innovation, lowering operating costs, and delivering high-quality products that ensure safe flight. When researching a business partner's history, consider the following:
Financial stability - can the supplier meet rapid prototyping and production needs?
Equipment effectiveness – are their solutions consistent with industry-standard design and manufacturing expectations as well as safety and certification requirements?
Test and validation capabilities – are thorough testing methods followed to assure readied commercialization?
Manufacturing acumen – can the supplier produce a repeatable quality product in a continuous improvement environment?
Reduced installation and purchasing costs – is the supplier focused on improving efficiencies and reducing costs that will benefit the aircraft manufacturer?
Internal research and development – what is the investment and focus the supplier has on product improvements?
MRO and engineering support – does strong aftermarket support exist? Is it globally available?
A track record of excellence – who are the supplier’s customers and will they make them available to you to assess their level of satisfaction with the supplier?
A commitment to sustainability – does the supplier see itself as responsible for maintaining focus on the environment and needs of society while realizing the growth of its business?
As the use of composites in the aviation industry continues to expand, lightning-protection equipment suppliers will need to ensure they can keep pace with demand. To be successful partners, they will need to invest in new manufacturing technologies such as advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, testing services, and simulation software to streamline productivity and add value.
About Parker Aerospace
Parker Aerospace is dedicated to the safety of flight and offers a comprehensive array of lightning-protection equipment that is fully tested to the most stringent commercial and military regulations for lightning, fire, and flammability. Parker's lightning lab testing engineers are active members of the SAE A-2 Lightning Safety Committee.
Watch this video and learn about Parker's on-site testing capabilities.
To learn more about lightning-protection equipment products, requirements and new technologies, download our white paper, "Composite Materials for Aircraft Wing Structures Are Increasing the Need for Lightning Protection Equipment".
Leading with purpose
After more than a century of experience serving our customers, Parker is often called to the table for the collaborations that help to solve the most complex engineering challenges. We help them bring their ideas to light. We are a trusted partner, working alongside our customers to enable technology breakthroughs that change the world for the better.
This post was contributed by Glen Kukla, engineering team leader, Parker Aerospace, Fluid Systems Division.
The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sports and the highest prize in sailing. Although it has a colorful history dating to 1851, America’s Cup wind-powered racing yachts certainly aren’t old school: the boats use advanced light-weight materials, the latest in nautical design, and aerospace control technology to skim across the ocean’s surface at speeds approaching 50 knots. That’s 55-plus miles-per-hour for landlubbers and the ultimate challenge for the 11-sailor crews that navigate the sophisticated yachts.
Parker is no stranger to the high-pressure competition that fuels the America’s Cup, having supported U.S. teams as an official partner during the last America’s Cup and supplying parts for decades. Following the announcement on January 7, 2019, Parker Hannifin is teaming with a New York Yacht Club-backed entry from the United States called “American Magic.” Parker is the official control systems partner to bring the trophy home to America’s shore in the 36th America’s Cup in 2021. Parker and the American Magic Team will work together to develop and implement state-of-the-art systems for the team’s racing boats. Leveraging a portfolio of proven aerospace and industrial technologies, these systems will enable the advanced yachts with precise control of the lifting surfaces and the wing required to produce optimum performance.
"Parker is honored to be a part of the American Magic team and to build on our long history with the America's Cup. The motion and control challenges that are presented by this latest generation of foiling yachts are significant and relevant to those that we see in our core business. The opportunity to partner with some of the most talented engineers and athletes on the planet in the crucible of a world-class competition is a recipe for technology advancement, and hopefully some American magic."
— Craig Maxwell, vice president and chief technology and innovation officer for Parker
New monohull design developed under AC75 Class Rule
Teams will be racing a monohull boat designed under the AC75 Class Rule, which defines the parameters within which teams can design a yacht eligible to compete for the 36th America’s Cup. In addition to shared weight, mast, and sail specifications, the AC75 boats will feature a 75-foot monohull with a T-foil rudder and twin canting T-foils. The objective of this design is to allow the boats to accelerate sufficiently that their foils elevate the hulls from the water to navigate above the ocean’s surface, reducing drag and increasing speed.
The AC75 is a “one-design” vessel, meaning that all teams’ boats use the same design for the main structural elements. The teams can innovate and gain advantage at the system levels of the boats. That’s where Parker Aerospace comes in.
Parker motion controls to optimize American Magic’s performance
Putting 100-plus years of engineering expertise to work and applying a broad range of core technologies, Parker will integrate its controls, hydraulics, and actuators into a key motion and control system that helps American Magic boats achieve stability as each lift onto its foils and accelerates.
According to Mark Czaja, vice president of technology and innovation with Parker Motion Systems, a wide range of Parker products and system-level expertise will help the American Magic boat perform at its highest level.
“Working with the team's Official Innovation Partner, Airbus – with whom Parker already works closely on several commercial and military aircraft platforms – we are bringing advanced control technologies to the American Magic boats, refining the design of the control system and its components for the rigors of saltwater competition.”
— Mark Czaja, vice president of technology and innovation with Parker Motion Systems
Half-scale boat tested on the water in Pensacola, Florida
The New York Yacht Club American Magic team has built a boat to half-scale of a race-ready AC75 design. The 38-foot boat—known as “the Mule” to its sailors, designers, and shore crew—has undergone testing in the waters of Pensacola, Florida. The shakedown runs serve to train the crew and provide system-level data that will influence the building of the first full-scale American Magic boat. The first AC75 yacht should be in the water by the end of August of 2019. Data gathered from the first boat will inform construction of a second one; either of the two boats can be used in the Challenger selection events and, ultimately, the America’s Cup.
Challenger selection events to determine who will face Defender Team Emirates New Zealand
The 36th America’s Cup match will take place in Auckland, New Zealand, in March of 2021. Prior to the America’s Cup, American Magic will compete in the America’s Cup World Series (April 23-26, 2020) and the Prada Cup Challenger series starting in January 2021. These races build toward the 36th America’s Cup over March 6-21, when the competition leader will earn the right to face current cup defender, Team Emirates New Zealand. But there is much to do before that for American Magic—and Parker—to prepare for the next edition of the America’s Cup.
We’ll be blogging throughout the run-up to the America’s Cup race in 2021, keeping readers posted on Parker and American Magic progress toward winning the cup for America.
This post was contributed by Zack Cody, project lead and a member of the Parker Aerospace central engineering department.
Parker Hannifin believes that creating a better tomorrow for everyone begins with a commitment to positively impacting the lives of our team members and the communities we call home. Our culture is focused on operating responsibly and safely, and while we’re focused on reliably producing aircraft systems and components that enable engineering breakthroughs, Parker believes that responsible operations also means giving and volunteering. Helping promote math and science education makes Parker and our communities stronger, and so does spending time to help make an impact in the areas where we live and work.
As an operating group of Parker with 23 manufacturing facilities, Parker Aerospace connects and protects our world by advancing the future of flight. While as an organization we’re developing advanced technologies to make aircraft safer and more reliable, we’re also 7,500 team members who are individually engaged in making the world a better place.
With Parker’s commitment to giving back and corporate social responsibility, our employees have been busy this holiday season to make an impact where they live. There have been other activities at the other facilities that are not listed, these are a sampling of the activities starting in November 2019.
The Together We Serve team from our Fluid Systems Division (FSD) was last spotted wearing their team’s red shirts at the amazing South County Outreach food pantry, where the food donations were overflowing. Parker team members ran a food drive, and donated five barrels full of food to the local organization this fall. All donations received will be offered to Orange County families in need.
To further assist the South County Outreach center, the Together We Serve team stepped up to help by sending 17 team members to the organization’s facility on November 23rd. Their mission was to sort and check expiration dates on the many foods received in the food drive. One of Parker’s team leaders, Cindy Valdez, brought her granddaughter, Desirea Valdez, along to help. Desirea (age 12) said she had not realized before that there are so many people in need of food in our community.
FSD’s Together We Serve team is an ongoing initiative at the division that supports community service projects. More information is available in other blogs about the team’s charter and their activities in the first half of this year.
For the last two years, the Aircraft Wheel & Brake Division (AWBD) has worked with the Salvation Army in Lorain, Ohio, to provide gifts for local families. This year, AWB supported 75 “angels” and provided toys and clothing to share the holiday spirit with the less fortunate children of Lorain County. Prior to working with the Salvation Army, AWB adopted families through the division’s local city schools (Avon) through the Share a Holiday program for more than ten years.
Additionally, this year Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division (FSD) joined with AWBD to support a request that the Salvation Army had for blankets. The two divisions joined forces to raise money for this donation project and was able to supply 95 total blankets! The order was placed through Kohl’s, who didn’t have enough stock locally and had to send the blankets from distribution points all over the United States!
Peer W southern California hub collects work clothes donations
The southern California hub of an internal Parker initiative called Peer W collected gently used work clothes donations for WISEPlace. WISEPlace is located in Santa Ana, California, and stands for Women Inspired Supported Empowered, and helps provide a community of housing and hope for women in need.
The 140+ pieces of clothing that were collected will be used to support women as they go on interviews, and once they start new jobs. Previous to this donation, Parker had made a $5,000 charitable donation to WISEPlace. Vice President of Program & Contract Management Barry Draskovich helped to connect Parker with this organization and with the delivery of clothes.
Peer W is Parker Hannifin’s business resource group with a mission to cultivate the professional success of women by creating awareness, education, and visibility. The WISEPlace mission is aligned with Peer W’s key initiative to enhance Parker’s connection with the community through outreach and support of initiatives which empower women.
Exotic Metals collecting gifts and raising funds in Washington
The newest division of Parker Aerospace, joining our organization in an acquisition this year, Exotic Metals Forming Division is participating in many giving tree and toy drives. At the division’s Kent facility, team members are participating in a toy drive benefiting Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM). UGM offers services for those in homelessness and poverty, with services ranging from hot meals, safe shelter, addiction recovery, and other critical essentials.
Exotic Metal’s Airway Heights facility is supporting their local Salvation Army by gathering gifts for young children, teens, and adults in need for a giving tree toy drive as well.
For the 20th year in a row, we are collecting monetary donations for Childhaven. The organization works with the most vulnerable children by partnering with parents and community to prevent trauma and its damaging effects, and prepare children for a lifetime of well-being. Childhaven offers early learning, early intervention, and outpatient mental health services to children and families in King County, Washington. Last year during the holidays, Exotic Metals went above and beyond by raising a record breaking amount, which combined with a matching donation for a total of $20,972!Angel Gift Holiday Project in Irvine, California
Repeating a tradition at the two Parker Aerospace locations in Irvine, the Alton and Von Karman facilities sponsored the Angel Gift Holiday Project through Smile Makers in conjunction with the Council on Aging – Orange County. This initiative helps give to seniors who spend the holidays without family. Angel-shaped ornaments each list a specific gift request for Parker employees to purchase a wrapped gift to accompany the tag.
The Council of Aging has been a trusted source that provides programs and services to more than 290,000 seniors and their families annually. There are more than 14,000 seniors in long-term care facilities in Orange County that have no family and SmileMakers Guild mobilizes community support for more than 6,000 seniors who would otherwise be forgotten.
Bikes for Kids kick-off event at Irvine, California
Team members at the Alton facility in Irvine, California, took part in their first Bike for Kids assembly event on Saturday, December 7. An ongoing tradition at Parker Hannifin’s headquarters in Cleveland, the Bikes for Kids event was introduced to the southern California office by IT Manager Sashi Kanth with help from Susan George, Natalie Kirkpatrick, and Ari Leon.
Donations were generously given by all team members in the Alton facility, including Aerospace Group, Military Flight Control Systems Division (MFCSD), and Customer Support Operations (CSO). The donations were enough to purchase 58 bicycles for the children of Thomas House Family Shelter in Garden Grove, California. CSO generously made the additional contribution to purchase helmets for every child as well.
The assembly event had greater turnout than expected, with 22 participants showing up bright and early on a Saturday morning ready to build all 58 bicycles. A trade show vendor for the divisions, Exibitree, was also gracious enough to volunteer its large truck to help deliver all of the bikes to Thomas House.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means different things to different people. For some, it means improving the communities in which they live or helping feed people in need of assistance. Other people prefer to support the military and military families. At Parker Aerospace, CSR efforts include all these causes and more thanks to a variety of support efforts provided by Parker employees.
Together We Serve is the collective name given to the many initiatives that make up CSR at Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division (FSD). Parker Hannifin provides corporate support through the Parker Foundation with grant money for charitable organizations. The selected organizations are nominated by local employees, and through a review process, the site chooses the specific charities that become recipients of the grants. In addition, the local Together We Serve team identifies the charitable initiatives and determines which organizations we will offer employees opportunities to support through either volunteering their time, donating items, or giving money to purchase the necessary items for donation.
In the case of FSD in Irvine, California, the local charities selected for the first half of 2019 included projects that help feed people, care for animals, and support families.
Second Harvest is a large foodbank near Irvine, California, that serves children, senior citizens, and even entire families in need. It is open to anyone whose income falls into what’s considered below the poverty level, which includes some military families. Last year, the non-profit food agency served approximately 250,000 people in the Irvine area. The food bank depends on volunteers to sustain approximately 40 percent of its manpower.
Twenty-three Parker team members and their families (including some children) worked at the food bank during a Saturday in February of 2019.
“People on the Second Harvest team had a sense of purpose and desire to give back to their communities ... Events like Second Harvest help employees feel more engaged with Parker and help them pass compassionate values on to their children.”
— Jennifer Perez, human resources specialist at Parker FSD in Irvine, CA
Perez noted that team members came from many different roles at Parker. “We had people from engineering, quality, finance, and human resources,” she reports. She indicated that they all worked together with a different type of teamwork and energy compared to their regular workplace routines.
“It was exciting to work around the table with my husband and people I care about,” explains Perez. “It was a different experience, like a race. People were eager to sort one type of food, then ask what else we could get done for the food bank. We wanted to hit record numbers. Afterward, there were lots of high fives and we had a great lunch together.”
To get the work done, team members gathered around a large table, broke open large bulk packages of food, eliminated any rotten or expired foods, and then re-packaged the food into smaller parcels for families. Parker employees also sorted donated towels, diapers, formula, and other items based on the needs of select groups like families with small children or senior citizens living by themselves.
“When working around the table, there is an energy that is contagious,” says Perez. “Time flies, but it’s also an eye-opening experience when you reflect on the people who benefit from the work.”
In addition to Second Harvest, Parker employees volunteered for an animal care project on a Saturday this past May. FSD members came together to help a local animal shelter in need of a good spring cleaning. With lots of enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, volunteers set to work to help the Orange County (OC) Animal Care organization.
This nonprofit operates 14 shelters and takes in more than 30,000 animals annually. During the event, the team was able to tour the Irvine facility, visit the animals, and pitch in with cleaning areas of the shelter devoted to abandoned and rescued animals.
A total of 22 Parker team members visited the Irvine OC Animal Care facility. There were also a few children who volunteered with their parents. All volunteers were clearly animal lovers.
Some volunteers and staff ended up adopting animals, according to OC Animal Care’s Public Education Officer, Brittany Hayes. She indicates that quite often volunteers find animals with which they build special bonds.
“Volunteering at OC Animal Care is definitely a feel-good thing,” says Hayes. “It’s almost an indescribable feeling because you are contributing to the well-being of the animals at the shelter. Whether you’re walking a dog or helping clean a kennel, you are making that animal feel loved and giving them a better opportunity to get adopted.”
OC Animal Care often hosts children volunteering with their parents. “Getting children involved in programs not only builds self-confidence, but it teaches them empathy,” notes Hayes. “Whether they are reading to an animal or if they are making them blankets, even the smallest hands make a big difference!”
“I think all employees who volunteered for this day at OC Animal Care are genuine animal lovers,” says Janet Dunscomb, the event coordinator and a cost/price analyst specialist at FSD. “So, they were very happy to be presented with an opportunity for themselves and their family members that combined their love for animals, their desire to help the community, and a chance to meet and get together with other Parker employees on a non-workday.”
Dunscomb received very positive feedback during the event and the day after. “I think everyone was very happy they participated and happy that Parker provided this opportunity,” she explains. “For those who want to continue volunteering in the animal world, this introduced them to new potential opportunities they could pursue after the event.”
A donation drive for local children attracted a great deal of heart-felt support from Parker FSD employees in 2019. Through a multi-faceted push that included email from Parker team leaders, visible drop-off bins strategically located within Parker facilities, and an internal website devoted to registrations, Parker was able to organize 106 backpacks for South County Outreach, near Irvine, California.
The organization has a vision to end hunger and house hope in Orange County, California. Providing an innovative food pantry and transitional housing program, South County Outreach helps homeless families get back on their feet with the tools and counseling they need to succeed.
Parker employees in Irvine have also supported Easter baskets and multiple gift card giveaways for Thanksgiving dinners for military families. Other charities selected by FSD in the past have included Toys for Tots and Angel Tree.
In Irvine, the Together We Serve team has eight members, which includes Perez, who helps bring volunteer ideas to other team members and then organize the events. The CSR team members sometimes serve as a specific event “champion.” Then, anywhere from 10 to 25 additional employees may volunteer for each event that CSR team members publicize. The group of volunteers changes with each activity.
“We are trying to offer a diverse grouping of opportunities to inspire new volunteers where they might feel drawn to participate,” explains Perez. Employees have previously supported a wide variety of charities through onsite donations of food, school supplies, gifts for the elderly, and toys for children at Christmas time.
“We did not have a formal program geared to serve in the community until recently,” says Perez. “In 2018, I had the opportunity to see how another company was supportive within the community through “serve” events. Ever since then, I have been working with a team here in Irvine to target those types of activities.”
Perez also believes that CSR initiatives like Together We Serve helps Parker attract better employees because today many individuals are looking for more than just a job. They want a sense of purpose. CSR initiatives allow for a better balance of purpose in an employee’s work/life balance. “There is definitely a level of personal satisfaction,” says Perez.
“I know the employees on the team feel a deeper sense of purpose when they can be involved in the team and CSR events, especially if it is one to which they are naturally drawn.”
— Jennifer Perez, human resources specialist
at Parker FSD in Irvine, CA
Perez added that for her, and for most of those who volunteer, the smiles at the end of an event truly reflect joy in the opportunities to give back in some way. “It's two-sided,” she adds. “To the person receiving support, and to the person offering support, it fills the heart to give or receive.”
This post was contributed by FSD’s Together We Serve team.
For those who dream of engineering missions on alien planets, there is no better teacher than experience. Parker Aerospace may not engineer robots to load alien planet samples on rockets and cargo spacecraft for another century. However, this past year Parker was involved in exactly this challenge with FIRST and their annual FIRST Robotics Competition Regional, a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) challenge for students around the world.
While the theme for the challenge rotates, this year the competition was organized around a space exploration concept. Parker is one of many sponsor organizations that include Boeing, Collins Aerospace, 3M, LEGO, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Motorola, Disney, and many others who made this season of FIRST Robotics possible.
Inspiring youth with STEM education
Founded in 1989, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. This nonprofit organization designs innovative programs that build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. Also working in a competitive environment, FIRST makes a point to teach Gracious Professionalism™ as its ethos for interpersonal conduct.
FIRST offers different programs to target many age groups:
The organization has more than 530,000 students, 60,000 teams, and 80 countries that participate annually.
For 2019 the theme was space exploration with “FIRST Launch” with the details of enabling vehicles that work on another. This includes a very detailed set of rules that define parameters for the game, arena, robots, humans, safety, conduct, construction, and more.
For the high school students participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), the competition was named Destination: Deep Space. In this scenario, two competing alliances collect samples on an alien planet. With only 2:30 minutes until liftoff, the alliances must gather as many cargo pods as possible and prepare their spaceships.
This competition uses robots to load a hatch panel at a loading station depot. Six cargo items (orange balls) can be loaded in each of the depots after the hatch panel is installed. Each team may pre-load one hatch panel and a cargo ball, otherwise, these must be retrieved from stations and assembled or collected.
At the beginning of each game, an imaginary sandstorm limits driver visibility, so robots independently follow pre-programmed instructions or are operated by human drivers via video feedback from their driver stations. Alliances can score points during this period by:
At T-minus 2:15 the sandstorm clears, and human operators take control of their robots with full visibility. The alliances continue to score points by:
To make the competition more challenging, the habitat includes an elevated platform that the robot can climb onto at the end of the match. Various bonus points can be scored while penalty points can also be incurred. At T-minus 0 the rockets liftoff and the round ends. The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match wins.
Parker Aerospace sponsorship and volunteers
As a sponsor organization, Parker Aerospace was matched with one of the teams, Troy Robotics from Troy High School in Fullerton, California. Parker is a financial sponsor of the team for FIRST Robotics Competition, and also partners with the Troy school to provide a summer internship program for students.
For the last nine years, Troy students have participated over the course of weeks on a range of hands-on engineering projects with Parker Aerospace’s Control Systems Division and, this year, with Parker’s Customer Support Operations. Students have worked on circuit design, coding projects, fixture overhaul, database management, documentation, and software evaluation.
For the FIRST Robotics Competition Regional held at the Orange County Fair & Event Center, 15 employees volunteered this year from within Parker Aerospace for roles such as robot inspector, judge, or scorekeeper. As experienced professionals donating their time for a good cause, they shared their insight as they interacted with students.
Parker Aerospace wishes to give special recognition to team member Jenny Chung for helping to lead Parker’s efforts with FIRST. She first participated in the program as a student and is passionate about the organization because she’s experienced its benefits. For the last 13 years, she has volunteered with FIRST as an emcee, Judge Advisor (leading the judging team), a member of the FIRST Robotics Competition Orange County Regional Planning Committee, plus was a translator for international teams from China competing at the World Championship event.
Additionally, she has served as a mentor to elementary school FIRST Lego League teams and high school FIRST Robotics Competition teams. For her involvement and dedication, Jenny was named the 2019 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by FIRST for her work in Orange County, California.
Women in STEM panel
Going a step further to share their insight with students, two Parker Aerospace employees participated in a panel discussion about women in STEM. Meghan Boyd is a value stream manager overseeing military flight control actuation and has been with Parker Aerospace for 12 years. Vivien Fang is an engineer managing aftermarket components and has worked with Parker Aerospace for five years.
A total of seven women came together to share their insight and advice from decades of working in aerospace, engineering, and manufacturing for the benefit of the students who are thinking about their future careers. Each panelist talked about her experiences, gave guidance, and took questions from the audience.
Parker Aerospace volunteers
Pictured: Jeremy DeTevis, Tasneem Bhaijee, Anna Alcala, Riza Dayapera, Mohamad “Mo” Dagher, Cynthia Mescher, Josh Bugni, Jeffrey Hsu, Austin Weems, Jenny Chung, Kevin Le, and Reza Jamasebi
Since 1979, Parker Aerospace has supported AirVenture, the world’s largest fly-in air show, previously known as the Oshkosh Air Show. It’s now the “Woodstock” of the aviation industry, drawing huge numbers of exhibitors and attendees from all over the world.
The show is organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association or “EAA.” However, EAA might just as well stand for Everyone’s Aviation Association because this US-based event draws so many people from so many different parts of the aviation industry: pilots, mechanics, aircraft enthusiasts, builders of unique aircraft, civil aircraft OEMs, and even kids interested in aviation.
KidVenture is a series of interactive booths within AirVenture where kids learn basic aviation concepts and skills. *** Knapinski, the director of communications at EAA, reports that in 2018 KidVenture had approximately 25,000 young people visit the booths. While they were of all ages, the biggest groups were between seven and 13 years old.
“One of the best ways to inspire young people in any pursuit is to give them memorable experiences that they keep talking about, especially when they’re learning while having fun. That’s what KidVenture is all about. Kids often don’t have the opportunity to discover aviation and aeronautics through their usual activities, so this gives them the possibility to be open to a whole new area that we hope will spark additional discovery.”
— *** Knapinski, the director of communications at EAA
To give kids a memorable and valuable experience, KidVenture organizers go beyond just showing aircraft and telling kids what aviation is. They engage kids on a deeper level. It’s similar to the old Chinese proverb: Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.
The interactive part of KidVenture is essential to its success.
“Kids (and anybody, really) would find ordinary presentations and demonstrations tedious after a while, especially in an event so full of sensory engagement as AirVenture. Engaging young people by having them put their hands and minds to work is a sure-fire way not only to create fun but also something tangible that kids and their parents often take away as a memory of the event.”
— *** Knapinski, the director of communications at EAA
Parker Aerospace has supported the KidVenture event for the past eight years with funding from both Parker’s Aircraft Wheel and Brake Division and Stratoflex Products Division. Parker’s support includes interactive displays that involve and engage kids of all ages. For the upcoming 2019 event, Parker Aerospace is working on a unique interactive wheel and brake display. It’s a hands-on activity that allows kids to see how the wheel and brake system functions. The display is designed so the kids have to take it apart, remove the wheel lining and brake pads, then reinstall them and put the assembly back together into a functional, working unit.
In all, there are two dozen interactive stations on the airport grounds for kids to play with. If the kids attend all of them and are successfully signed off at each station, they are then eligible to receive a complete set of tools at the end of the process. This gift for kids is intended to help them remember what they learned at the event and get them involved in aviation at an early age.
KidVenture also encourages and enables parents to hang out with their children for the entire day and share in the activities at each station. In this way, it’s not just an event for kids. It also becomes a special time for parents to bond with their children.
“Our participation in the show is an opportunity to get in front of people and reinforce our brand,”
“We get a chance to remind people that the engineering, design, manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, and other aspects of our products are all carried out right here in America, by Americans.”
— Vern Rodgers, business development and marketing representative at Parker’s Aircraft Wheel and Brake Division
Parker Aerospace is also sponsoring a Young Eagles gathering in 2019. The money donated for this activity goes to general aviation airports and helps teach young people about how to maintain aircraft. Wheel and brake products are also donated to the event’s aerial acrobatic performers.
Parker Aerospace employees attending the show often answer questions, go to the airplane parking lot with customers, diagnose issues, provide consultation, and offer other services for the AirVenture attendees who own aircraft, as well as pilots and mechanics at the event. Employees of Parker’s Aircraft Wheel and Brake Division use this opportunity to get to know the customers who use Parker products.
“Because aircraft parts are normally sold through Parker distributors, this event provides an important opportunity to meet our customers face to face,”
“Success in this business is built on trust. It helps establish a higher comfort level with customers when you can shake hands and look them in the eyes. You can’t do that in an email, a text, or even over the phone. Meeting with top management from our OEM customers in this setting can also open up conversations about their new projects and new applications of Parker products.”
— Vern Rodgers, business development and marketing representative at Parker’s Aircraft Wheel and Brake Division
2019 is the AirVenture show’s 50th anniversary. This year, AirVenture is also dubbed the “Year of the Fighter.” Parker Aerospace has products on nearly every fighter jet in operation around the world today, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 (arguably the world’s most advanced fighter jet after the F-22). To learn more about Parker’s role in supporting this aircraft, click here to read about Parker on the F-35 fighter.
Coincidentally, 2019 is also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which happened in July of 1969. This moon landing marked the first time that humans landed on the moon and returned safely. Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins will be the featured guest as EAA’s AirVenture 2019 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the mission. Parker Aerospace had more than 120 components on each of the Apollo missions.
This post was contributed by Sandi Schickel, eBusiness manager for Parker Aerospace’s Aircraft Wheel & Brake Division.
Celebrating 50 years since humankind’s lunar landing and our significant role in that achievement
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched and on July 20 was the first landing of humans on the lunar surface with Parker Aerospace making the journey possible - from blast off to first step, and the return. Parker equipment provided vital functions on all three booster stages (first, second, third stage), the Command Service Module (CSM), the Lunar Module (LM), and even the astronauts’ suits.
From the development of the program, the early tests of Apollo 7 and Apollo 8, the landmark Apollo 11 landing, and through the final Apollo 17 Mission, Parker played an important role in the historic events. Parker Aerospace is proud of the important role played by our engineers and equipment.
During prelaunch operations and during the mission, Parker made sure the crew and spacecraft were safe. The ground support shutoff valves located in the launch pad complex directed liquid oxygen and fuel to the various Apollo systems. Eight six-inch ball valves were used during the fuel and oxygen fill operations of the first stage. The valves were also used to drain the vehicle in the event of an extended hold condition on the mission. Ten eight-inch pre-valves were used during the fuel and oxygen fill operations for the vehicle second stage
Fluid systems throughout the Apollo vehicle relied on specially designed Parker seals and fittings to prevent leaks that could cause serious mission delay. Critical sealing applications, such as the vehicle observation windows, relied on Parker seals to safeguard the astronauts. High-precision tube fittings, designed to meet exacting NASA specifications, were used throughout the vehicle to ensure leakproof, dependable connections on essential systems.
Beginning with ignition through the entire flight of the first stage, the four-inch ball valves circulated and maintained liquid oxygen (LOX) for the engines while the gaseous oxygen (GOX) flow control valve maintained a constant tank pressure during the first-stage operation.
After burnout and separation of the first stage, the accumulator reservoir manifold assembly (ARMA) provided the hydraulic energy for positioning the second-stage outer engines to assure proper mission trajectory. One hydrogen control valve and one oxygen control valve regulated the second-stage hydrogen and oxygen flow to the propellant tanks to maintain a constant propellant pressure during operation. Propellant shutoff valves were installed in each of the second-stage engine inlet lines. These valves would close in the event of an emergency, to shut off fuel to the malfunctioning engine.
When the vehicle reached an altitude of approximately 108 miles above the Earth, the second-stage separated, and the third-stage ignited. At the time of ignition, the LOX check valves served a vital function by preventing liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen backflow into their respective supply tanks. Further protection of the all-important third stage was assured with the use of highly reliable hydraulic check valves throughout the hydraulic system.
During the entire mission, from countdown to separation of the service module prior to re-entry, the Apollo program utilized the Parker fuel cell reactant supply modules and oxygen and hydrogen modules. The fuel cell reactant supply modules controlled the flow of hydrogen and oxygen to the fuel cells, which furnished complete mission electrical power. The oxygen and hydrogen modules controlled the temperature and pressure in the oxygen and hydrogen storage tanks. Oxygen used for cabin pressurization was also controlled by this module.
The oxygen control assembly performed vital pressure control through the entire mission until lift-off from the lunar surface.
The assembly also controlled the oxygen used to pressurize the LM cabin and the astronauts’ suits. In addition, the oxygen control assembly was used to fill the astronauts’ backpacks for their lunar exploration. This assembly received high-pressure oxygen from the LM supply tanks and regulated the pressure to a usable level.
When the moment arrived for the astronauts to leave the lunar parking orbit and proceed to the surface of the moon, a command was given for Lunar Module (LM) separation from the Command Service Module (CSM). From here, the reaction control system (RCS) maneuvered using reaction control valves that were used to turn the LM to the descent attitude and control steering and attitude during descent to the surface of the moon. These valves were also critical to astronaut safety during ascent from the lunar surface and during hover, rendezvous, and docking maneuvers.
The descent engine was used to slow the LM from the lunar parking orbit and guide it to the lunar surface. The engine propellant tanks were pressurized by a Parker pressurization system. This system was comprised of a helium pressure-reducing valve, quad-check valve, burst disc, and relief valve. The helium pressure-reducing valve regulated the LM high-pressure helium, which forced the fuel and oxidizer into the engine.
The quad-check valve, used in both descent and ascent operations, prevented any backflow that might allow mixing of propellants. The burst disc acted as a seal, preventing propellant liquid or vapors from reaching the relief valve and, causing a corrosive reaction, worked in conjunction with the relief valve to prevent over pressurization of the system.
When the LM was unpressurized or the space suit umbilical cord was used, a suit loop pressure switch was incorporated in the system to assure maximum astronaut safety in the event of a torn suit.
Apollo 11’s touchdown on the moon was famously televised on July 20 and the post-lunar landing conversation between astronauts, “Cycle that Parker Valve,” was heard across the world. These valves were used to isolate the propellant feed systems, which were cycled open and closed immediately after landing. For years after, Parker Hannifin President and CEO Pat Parker would jokingly thank NASA and the astronauts for helping with Parker’s first global television advertisement from the moon.
Parker’s early work on the frontiers of space technology, made possible by our expert engineers and technicians, played a key role in the design, production, and flight of Apollo spacecraft. Parker equipment directly supported the success of Apollo missions as well as its astronaut’s safety.
The people of Parker Hannifin felt enormous pride during the years of the Apollo’s design, production, and flight. Today, remembering the part Parker played in this incredible achievement, we are still proud and humbled to be part of history.
This post was contributed by Brian King, eBusiness manager for Parker Aerospace.