West Midlands-based A&M EDM
, a precision engineering specialist, has announced the successful commissioning of its proprietary commercial UAS (unmanned aerial system) propulsion system by an international client.
The customer required a propulsion system with an integrated starter generator system able to perform on-board cold starts on heavy fuels down to -30°C, as well as providing 3kW of generated electrical power at 28V dc something which until now was scarce in the marketplace.
To deliver this A&M EDM embarked on a technical and business collaboration agreement with Cardiff-based E-Propelled, a new addition to the UAV combustion engine starternator marketplace.
E-Propelled was selected for the project as it is backed by an impressive design and development team in the USA. The first prototype units were delivered by E-Propelled to A&M for testing in September 2020.
The system is able to deliver up to 3kW of electrical power while also providing thrust via its low weight, low vibration and kerosene operation. The architecture provides a bridge between traditional UAS propulsion systems and recent aerospace developments in high electrification, such as vertical take-off and landing, hybridisation or range extending systems.
A&M have many years of experience manufacturing rotary engines for a range of customers including projects funded by the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation (NATEP) programme.
In the past five years A&M undertook an R&D project to design, develop and manufacture a complete propulsion system with technical partner TechTeam Developments LLP. As part of the R&D, A&M invested in a bespoke, soundproof engine testing unit, complete with a £40,000 dynometer.
Mark Wingfield, A&M managing director, said: “We harnessed our engineering design and manufacturing capabilities to create a flexible propulsion system with unique functionality. It is robust, lightweight, compact, multi-fuel operational and dependable with almost turbine levels of vibration for a wide range of applications.”