The Changing Dynamics of Aerospace Fluid Conveyance Systems Market

Aerospace fluid conveyance systems market

Stratview Research 11-03-2020

Even a small organism needs a complex system of nerves and blood vessels which regulate the entire metabolism, from the transportation of food, water, regulation of temperature to the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Likewise, a machine of immense complexity such as an aircraft, needs a myriad of systems for its safe and perfect functioning.

Aerospace Fluid Conveyance System has three parts, air conveyance, hydraulic conveyance, fuel conveyance systems. Together they perform the same function as that of the arteries of a living organism, transporting critical fluids and gases from the heart of the aircraft i.e. the engine and other storages to the farthest corner of the aircraft. They perform the vital functions, such as ventilation, pressurization, fluid, water & fuel regulation, humidity or containment control, anti-icing, noise attenuation and controlling heating & cooling of the various components.

To perform these tasks aircraft fluid conveyance system comprises hoses & tubes, ducts. The FCS components are subject to varying degrees of pressure, temperature, and effect of chemicals. These factors along with the location of the component decides the type of material to be used.

The materials used are metals, composites, Teflon and others.

Metals

Inconel, Stainless steel, alloys of Titanium & Aluminium and other exotic alloys.

Composites

Reinforcement:    Glass fiber, Carbon fiber, Aramid fiber

Matrices:               BMI and epoxy resins are the major matrices.

Types:                    Thermoset or Thermoplastic composites

Others

Teflon, Elastomer such as Silicon, Hastelloy, foams and Neoprene

 

The choice of the material is based upon the property that is desired, which alters with the nature of the application. Following are the specific properties of the materials and their main applications.

Material

Properties

Applications

Inconel 625 and 718

Highest strength, corrosion resistance, excellent fabricability and oxidation resistance; ability to withstand low cryogenic temperature as well as extreme temperature or around 1800°F (982°C).

Higher usage in high-pressure applications, such as bleed air and anti-ice fluid conveyance systems.

 

Titanium Alloys

(Ti CP40 and Ti CP70)

Has low density (4.5 as opposed to 8.5 for the Inconel family) combined with high temperature resistance

Suitable for medium pressure and temperature applications.

Composites & Aluminium

Light weight, corrosion resistance, and ability to develop complex parts.

Most preferred materials for the low pressure applications, such as, flight deck air distribution, cabin recirculation, cabin sidewall riser, air-conditioned supply, and windscreen demisting.

Stainless Steel, ex. CRES 321

Extreme durability and longevity; corrosion resistance, 100% recyclable etc.

High-pressure applications

Engine bleed air system and exhaust ducts.

Teflon

 It offers advantages, such as chemical resistance, low coefficient of friction, flexibility, non-aging characteristics, and non-adhesive surface.

Hoses & Tubes made by Teflon. Used for high temperature and cryogenic applications

 

Inconel 625 & 718, the alloys of Nickel, account for around one-third of the market, followed by Teflon, composites and Titanium alloys, stainless steel alloys etc. Due to the suitability of metal alloys in high temperature & pressure applications which dominate the market, the share of metal alloys is quite high.

Composites are likely to experience the highest growth with a 7.5% CAGR from 2019 to 2024, owing to the galloping demand in low-pressure applications. Composites are expected to gain traction in high-pressure applications as well, such as APU inlet, ECS inlet plenum, and APU plenum. This rise is also due to rapid innovations in composite products. The incorporation is especially visible in the bypass ducts and de-icing ducts. Almost all Boeing commercial aircraft including B737, B747, and B777 are using composite de-icing ducts.

The rise is also in part due to a wide array of advantages over metal ones including lightweight, good strength-to-weight ratio, ability to withstand a wide range of operating temperatures, high-corrosion resistance, high-fatigue resistance, and ability to form complex shapes.

A detailed look into the Fluid Conveyance Systems market

The global fluid conveyance systems market in the aerospace industry offers good growth prospects over the next five years. Stratview Research, after rigorous data crunching, considering the various pertinent drivers and constraints, estimates the market to grow at a CAGR of > 5.0% over the next five years to reach the market size of over US$ 5 billion by 2024.

The FCS market is consolidated with the presence of more than two dozen players. At the helm are the firms Eaton Corporation, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Senior Plc, PFW Aerospace and Arrowhead Products, which cumulatively accounted for about half of the market in 2018.

North America is the global leader in aerospace fluid conveyance systems market with near 50% of the market share, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. The highest growth of 6.6% is expected to come from Asia-Pacific.

 Of the three applications, air conveyance application dominated the market, followed by fuel conveyance and hydraulic conveyance system. The fuel conveyance segment is likely to witness the highest growth CAGR from 2019 to 2024. The air conveyance system dominates the market since it finds application throughout the aircraft: environment control system, engine bleed system, anti-ice system, air distribution system and avionics ventilation.

 In FCS, high-pressure ducting dominated the market in 2018, followed by hoses & tubes and low-pressure ducting. High-pressure ducting and hoses & tubes together accounted for over three-fourths of the market share.

Product Type

Application

Material

High-pressure

Engine bleed air duct, anti-ice ducting system for wings, engine cowl, tail, and environment control system

Metals such as Inconel, Titanium alloys, Stainless steel alloys dominate.

Hoses & tubes

Hoses and tubes

Teflon is the most dominant material used in hoses & tubes.

Low-pressure

Conditioned air supply, cabin air recirculation, flight deck instrumentation cooling, avionics ventilation, and windshield demisting.

Composites are a material of choice for fabrication of low-pressure ducting.

 

The growth bulwark

The growth of FCS find synchronicity with the organic growth of aircraft industry. Rise in global GDP as well as growth in RPK (revenue per passenger per kilometer) as well as rise in the global air traffic give a prodigious boost to aircraft production and their deliveries.

Continuous developments in high thrust aircraft engines are pushing the industry stakeholders to redesign their ducting systems, roping in advanced materials with the ability to withstand higher temperature and pressure. The use of expensive materials will result in the growth in the duct market in terms of value.

The 787-No-Bleed disruption

Digressing from the usual practice of using pneumatic systems and bleed manifold, Boeing 787 chose to side with no-bleed system architecture.

Hitherto, the air has been used to perform various functions in an aircraft, for ex, Cabin air conditioning, for providing initial torque to help start the engine, maintaining proper potable water pressure, operating hydraulic pumps, maintaining cabin pressure, Boundary Layer Enhancement for military aircraft, etc. In Boeing 787, the conventional source of power for most of the activities, i.e., bleed air has been replaced with electric power. In Boeing 787, most of these functions like air-conditioning and wing anti-ice systems, are facilitated by electric power.

There are various advantages of the new n0-bleed architecture, as shared by Boeing, such as:

  • Improved Thrust: The bleed air is taken out from various stages of the engine, which reduces the net engine thrust. No-bleed architecture, on the other hand, does not need pneumatic support and all the high-speed air produced by the engines goes to generate thrust.
  • The no-bleed architecture allows significant simplification in engine design due to the elimination of the pneumatic system and associated pre-coolers, control valves and required pneumatic ducting.
  • Reduced maintenance costs, due to the elimination of the maintenance-intensive bleed system.
  • Expanded range and reduced fuel consumption due to the lower overall weight.
  • Improved reliability due to the use of modern power electronics and fewer components in the engine installation.
  • More than 50% reduction in mechanical complexity of the plane and lesser requirement of the ducting system due to the removal of various parts from the engine and airframe of the aircraft like Heat shields, Overheat monitoring systems, Duct burst protection systems etc.

The only remaining bleed system on the 787 is the anti-ice system for the engine inlets. The copious advantages, apart from the 3% expected improvement in fuel efficiency, build a strong case for the new no-bleed architecture.

The road ahead

Coronavirus is impacting the global economy, including the aviation industry, big time. This will slightly push down the growth curve of the global aircraft deliveries over the next few years. With the expected growth in the aircraft industry over the next few years, the aircraft duct market will also grow in tandem.

Among the materials, composites seem to be on the rise, with the highest CAGR and expanding application horizons only bolstering its rise as an upcoming material.

The present challenges beleaguering the FCS industry are cost reduction, cracks in the ducts, galvanic corrosion, de-bonding. But the major development of no-bleed architecture is a greater cause of concern.

As the introduction of the no-bleed architecture which uses electrical power is of relatively new origin, it would be interesting to observe its success and how fast the industry incorporates this radically different system.

Leaving aside this issue, the market seems robust and growth can be expected to continue impressively in the near future.

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