Upcycled Success

When it seemed like all the possibilities were tapped out, Ideal Aerosmith found an innovative solution for a United States government missile systems contractor by breathing new life into a legacy system.

How we solved it.

the challenge

For the main component of this project, Ideal Aerosmith was producing a complex and high-performing three-axis flight motion simulation (FMS) table for one of the client’s applications that tests RF seekers used on missile guidance systems. This particular FMS table was so large that it required its own building. Consequently, the lead time for the project was scheduled to be at least 14-16 months, not including any additional lead time involved with building construction.

In the meantime, the client wanted to conduct some primary testing before the new FMS table arrived, so they asked Denny Whitehead, senior business development manager at Ideal Aerosmith, about options for three-axis table systems with shorter lead times around eight months. The team at Ideal Aerosmith explored their multi-axis automatic motion tables, including its 1573P, 1583 and 2003HP models, but none of the systems could handle the payload. All of the scenarios only produced approximately 10 to 20 percent of the performance the client was looking to achieve. “We even considered creating a modified version of one of our three-axis tables to add to the performance,” says Whitehead, “but that would result in a significant increase in cost and lead time.” It seemed as though, the client was left without an option.

the solution

At Ideal Aerosmith, resourcefulness and creative thinking are ingrained in the culture. Whitehead and his team put their heads together and identified a surplus system they had been using as an in-house test bed for their Aero4000™ Motion Controller. The machine, a Carco Electronics Flight Motion Simulator Series S450, was originally manufactured to test the seeking devices used in missile systems, and this particular one was about 20 years old. With some ingenious modifications, including a new controller, rebuilt hydraulic actuators and a fresh coat of paint, it was just the answer the client was looking for.

the outcome

The surplus system met the minimum performance requirements and met an expedited delivery schedule, allowing the client to initiate preliminary testing. Plus, the system is worthwhile for testing other programs, meaning that the client can continue to use it even after its full-scale FMS table arrived.

“The client was happy with the solution and extremely pleased with the schedule,” says Whitehead. “Our team doesn’t get discouraged when the solution isn’t obvious. We do our best work when we need to rewrite the rules.”

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