Maxwell Technologies has announced that Diehl Luftfahrt Elektronik GmbH, a producer of aerospace systems and controls, has selected Maxwell’s BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors to power emergency actuation systems for doors and evacuation slides in passenger aircraft, including the new Airbus 380 jumbo jet. Alain Riedo, vice president and general manager of Maxwell’s Swiss subsidiary, Maxwell Technologies SA, said that the companies have signed a strategic supply agreement through which Diehl will source ultracapacitors exclusively from Maxwell.
“These systems are designed to provide fail-safe backup power to open aircraft doors and deploy evacuation slides in an emergency, so Diehl thoroughly evaluated and tested all available energy-storage alternatives before settling on ultracapacitors,” Riedo said. “Each of the 16 Door and Slide Management System (DSMS) actuators on the Airbus 380 incorporates ultracapacitor cells in a redundant configuration to ensure reliable operation even if individual cells should be damaged or fail for any reason.”
Dr. Wolfgang Helbach, managing director of Diehl Luftfahrt Elektronik, said that Diehl decided to use ultracapacitors for backup power for its DSMS actuators after extensive testing confirmed that they offer significant advantages over conventional battery solutions.
“Ultracapacitor-based systems are lighter than batteries and are more reliable because they remain fully charged off the main power system during normal operation, and they store up to 8 hr of standby power to operate the actuators in the event of a main system failure,” Helbach said. “Ultracapacitors also reduce operating expenses over the life of the aircraft because they require no routine maintenance, and their robust construction and ability to charge and discharge hundreds of thousands of times with minimal loss of function allows them to perform for many years without replacement.”