The design and development of electromechanical actuation (EMA) equipment requires OEMs to continuously tweak their designs to comply with evolving system requirements and growing demands for increased torque, speed and number of actuation cycles. Often, even a small increase in electromechanical actuator drive capability requires an increase in the size of the brushless DC motors, along with various modifications to the motor controller techniques utilized. Mechanical and electrical parameters can be fine-tuned to ensure optimal system performance. For instance, a small change in an aircraft’s wing design may cause drastic changes in its actuation power requirements, which may cascade into significant changes throughout the EMA system design.
A recent trend among OEMs is to use line replaceable units (LRUs) for many EMA system components. An LRU is a modular sub-system component of an airplane, ground vehicle, ship or spacecraft (or any other manufactured device) that is designed to be replaced quickly in the field. LRUs can be bolted on with minimum changes to the overall system, avoiding costly re-certifications, while reducing time-to-market. The modularity of LRUs can contribute to reducing system costs and increasing quality by standardizing development and maintenance across different systems. LRUs also simplify the maintenance and repair logistics chain, and improve mission readiness. LRUs can be stocked in nearby inventories and replacement LRUs can be made quickly available in the event of failure. The failed LRU can then be transported back to a remote factory or depot for repair.