Aircraft cargo handling system

July 21, 2011

Vicor has recently provided a power solution to a commercial aircraft industry supplier that designs, manufactures and supports complete on-board baggage and cargo handling systems for many of the world’s major airlines. Simplicity of installation, operation and maintenance is important in such applications. The equipment must be durable and light-weight, yet be capable of withstanding shock, vibration and low temperatures. Vicor’s VI-Junior DC-DC converter products’ ability to meet all these requirements made them an ideal choice for the customer when designing the control units for the cargo handling system. Vicor’s long and broad experience with working with leading OEMs to provide power supply solutions for aircraft applications also contributed to the design decision.

The manufacturer understood the benefits Vicor’s products brought to the design. They are rugged, the PCBs being conformally coated with a viscous, heavy potting material. Applying such a material to a single module is far easier than to the components of a discrete design. Module cooling, which is effected by conduction through the system chassis, is also straight forward. The modules’ low weight is a valuable attribute in this application.

The requirement was to accept power input from an aircraft generator at 110 Vac 400 Hz and supply 5 V, 12 V and 28 V DC outputs. Power levels range from 25 W to 75 W. Designing the total solution was easy, as it comprised a simple 3-phase rectifier plus the Vicor modules. As products with the right input and output voltages were available as standard items the project was completed without incurring NRE and without requiring any external design company input.

The modules’ safety approvals also contributed to cost and time savings during the design phase.

The project demonstrates some of the advantages of the VI-Junior family in allowing power system designers to meet demanding time-to-market requirements. It achieves this through flexibility across a wide range of specifications including power, input and output voltage, operating temperature, RoHS compliance and packaging options. It also offers power densities of up to 50 W/In³ with efficient, low-noise and reliable operation.


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