Kistler Instruments Ltd. - PRODUCT NEWS
NO SECOND CHANCE.
Although most people will think of ejection seats as being a relatively recent invention for high-speed jet fighter aircraft, ejection seats have been in use for over sixty years. The first recorded emergency ejection was in 1949 when Jo Lancaster bailed out of the experimental AW-52, jet powered flying wing using a Martin-Baker Mk 1 ejection seat.
Since then, Martin-Baker has developed into one of the world's leading manufacturers with seats fitted to a majority of high performance aircraft manufactured in the West. Since the Mk. 1, Martin-Baker ejection seats have saved over 7,200 lives; 5 in the first five weeks of 2008. Martin Baker's success is based firmly on innovation and experience coupled with careful design and test.
All current ejection seats use a small rocket motor to propel the seat and occupant out of the aircraft fast enough to avoid collision with the fin and high enough to allow the parachute to deploy effectively even in ground level ejections. Ensuring that the rocket burn, usually of around 400 mSec, provides sufficient thrust to provide a safe escape is a critical part of the design process. Each new rocket design is tested using a Kistler Instruments (www.kistler.com) dynamic multicomponent force plate mounted in a test enclosure to measure the duration and thrust produced by the burn. Over 10,000 lbs of thrust combined with the corrosive atmosphere in the test enclosure, demands a highly reliable force measuring system able to maintain accuracy under difficult operating conditions.
When the motor under test is fired, considerable vibration levels are produced yet the Kistler force plate allows force data to be acquired at a sample rate of 25,000 per second. The thrust against time data allows the design engineers to calculate both the speed of ejection and, most important, the maximum acceleration the occupant with experience. To keep the acceleration within the range the human body can withstand, initial movement of the seat is created by a low powered system so the seat is already in motion when the rocket motor fires. This limits the g-force loading to an acceptable level.
In addition to testing new rocket motor designs, the Kistler force plate is also used for propellant life testing and in-production QA sample testing for seat and canopy separation rocket motors.
According to Martin-Baker's Environmental Test Manager, Stuart Driver, the use of the Kistler dynamic force plate was developed out of the use of Kistler static force sensors, which performed reliably but were more difficult to set up. "Mounting a rocket motor on the Kistler force plate takes only minutes", says Stuart Driver, "and, as the data connections are permanently in place, we can carry out a comprehensive test routine quickly with total confidence in the data. Although the rocket motor is a small part of the ejector seat, it is the one component that must operate to full specification every time."
Kistler Instruments Limited
Established in Wintherthur (Switzerland) in 1957, Kistler is represented in over 50 countries and has subsidiaries in Germany, France, Italy, UK, Japan, USA, China, Korea and Singapore. With a staff of more than 800, the Kistler Group is one of the world's leading providers of dynamic measuring instrumentation. The Kistler Group achieved turnover of 160 million Swiss Francs in the 2005 financial year.
Kistler's core competence is the development, production and use of sensors for measuring pressure, force and acceleration. Kistler's know-how and electronic systems can be used to prepare measuring signals for use in analyzing physical processes, controlling and optimizing industrial processes, improving product quality in manufacturing and improving performance in sports and rehabilitation.
Kistler offers a comprehensive range of sensors and systems for engine development, automotive engineering, plastics and metal processing, installation technology and biomechanics.
Heavy investment in research and development, 15% of staff worldwide are engaged in research and development, has generated a number of innovations using piezoelectric, piezoresistive and capacitive techniques to provide solutions to numerous force, pressure and acceleration measuring problems. These innovations include the world's first commercial quartz sensor, two-wire constant current technology to integrate sensors with microelectronic circuitry, high-temperature pressure sensors for use up to 400 Deg C and three-component force measuring sensors.
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