Aero Specialties: JetGo™

CASE STUDY

EXPERTISE APPLIED
  • Industrial Design
  • Drive-train Engineering
  • Heat Management
  • Frame Design
  • Rotational Molding Design
  • User Interface Design
  • Material Analysis
  • Supply Chain Setup

| SITUATION |

AERO Specialties builds and supplies aircraft and airport ground-sup-port equipment (GSE) to corporate, military, airline and general aviation customers worldwide. Their JetGo product line serves to provide axillary power for corporate jets when on the ground. JetGo has been a suc-cessful product line for Aero Specialties. But new environment regulations require that a new “Tier 4”, more efficient diesel engine to be integrated into the product. The new Tier 4 engine is larger and produces more heat compared to the legacy system. This meant that the entire JetGo product would need to be redesigned to accommodate the engine.

The look and feel of legacy JetGo products have been an effective market
differentiator. The products incorporate a sleek, unconventional look that aligns well with FBO operations market. The new design would need to need to be beautiful, functional, and extremely rugged.

An additional goal identified by Aero Specialties was to reduce the overall production cost of the JetGo product. This would be a challenge since the new Tier 4 engine is significantly more expensive than the legacy engine.

Aero Specialties engaged SGW Designworks to completely re-design the product, incorporate the Tier 4 engine, and reduce production cost.

| APPROACH |

Re-design of the JetGo included a lot of in-depth engineering and analysis to address specific technical challenges. The SGW engineer-ing team initially focused on packaging and heat management, while the SGW industrial design team started to develop visual design concepts. In parallel, a third SGW team started to analyze the existing design to identify opportunities for cost reduction in the new version. As development progressed, all three teams converged their focus on one element of the product: the top half of the enclosure, called the “hood”. From a heat management / packaging point of view, the hood geometry is critical: it defines how air moves through the radiator and how radiant heat escapes form the system. From an industrial design standpoint, the hood is the most prominent and visible element of the system, so it represents the most important element to shape properly. The hood in the legacy product was made hand-laid fiberglass, much like a boat hull. The hood itself was the second most expensive part of the system after the engine. Finding a way to produce a beautiful hood design that managed airflow, while also reducing production costs became the critical development path.

First production unit

The SGW Designworks engineering team identified rotational molding as a production process well suited to the size and shape of the hood. The SGW industrial design team was able to massage the conceptual shape to be compatible with the specific constraints of rotational molding. The SGW Designworks engineering team validated through simulations that the new shape and material for the hood could achieve the required heat management targets. Preliminary production quotes for the hood indicated a cost reduction of sixty percent compared to the hood on legacy units. This would be enough to achieve the goal of overall cost reduction while meeting all of the functional and performance requirements.

With the hood designed, focus turned to design and integration off all other systems: structural frame engineering, wiring and cable harness design, power cable storage, lighting, user interface, were all addressed in the development process. Serviceability was an important consideration that required special attention. The design team at SGW Designworks pulled the complete 3D model into virtual reality, and invited service technicians to review the design. Technicians were able to determine that service items like air filters, oil drain plugs, etc were all in reasonable locations, based solely on the virtual reality design review. SGW finalized the design, and identified / vetted suppliers for the rotomolded parts, eventually helping Aero Specialties choose the best supplier. Other components would be sourced from existing Aero Specialties suppliers. With the design locked, and the suppliers lined up, it was time to start production.

| RESULTS |

In early 2019, production of the new JetGo product began. The design represents a new direction in the Ground Support Equipment market, with the first application of large rotational molded parts in the industry. Market feedback to the new design has been positive, and Aero Specialties expects to see significant sales of the product in the years to come.

“Prior to selecting SGW for this project, we approached several other development companies. The thing that stood out the most and basically sealed the deal for us was the instant understanding of the product and how it would operate in our industry.”

– Rod Gray, VP – GPU Division | Aero Specialties

Aero Specialties and SGW Designworks are collaborating on multiple projects for the GSE market