Aircraft Gearbox Design and Manufacturing of Tomorrow (ARGONAUT)

Approach and objective

The overall objective of the project is to create solutions for the comprehensive integration of novel manufacturing and design processes into the value chain of high power density gears and gear wheels to increase the competitiveness of German manufacturing companies and aerospace developers in terms of key technologies, environmental balance and costs. To this end, the following objectives have been defined within the alliance:

  • Utilization of the latest manufacturing processes to improve quality and reduce manufacturing costs
  • Design of highly efficient aerospace transmissions taking into account new possibilities such as alternative bearing concepts, 3D printing/sintering materials and adapted joining processes
  • Introduction of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes to reduce the CO2 footprint
  • Increasing the degree of automation in gear manufacturing to improve the quality and reduce the cost of the manufacturing process
  • Process-safe heat treatment of gears (especially press hardening) in combination with high-performance simulation
  • Development of a manufacturing process for hard machining of gears with extremely high strengths to enable more compact and significantly more cost-efficient designs

Part of the Fraunhofer IWS

The Fraunhofer IWS contribution consists of the development of a resource- and cost-efficient laser-based joining technology for high-strength shaft-hub joints in aerospace control gears using sintered or 3D-printed gears:

  • Weight-efficient integration of the sintered or AM gears to be developed in flight control gearboxes, thus creating the prerequisites for raising the formulated goals for resource conservation (efficiency increase) and functional integration (intrinsic lubrication and damping)
  • Creation of the prerequisites for the use of corrosion-resistant gear and shaft materials, which finally enables the substitution of environmentally harmful coating processes (chrome plating) and thus massively reduces the environmental impact of the entire production chain.
  • Increase in static joint strength compared with mechanical interference fit joints (benchmark), thus potential for reducing structural weight at the joint by 50 percent
  • Reduction of manufacturing effort and CO2 footprints by up to 30 percent in the production of shaft-hub connections by substituting splines with a welded connection