Key Research Areas

ELBA - Electrical Rotor Hub Actuator

A helicopter rotor system has a harsh operating environment. Its parts are subjected to unusually high stress, including vibration, strong centrifugal forces and extreme temperatures.

We are developing a power electronic unit for our clients that meets these challenging conditions while maintaining the high safety standards of the aviation industry and keeping build size to a minimum.

The frequency converter controls electrical drives integrated into the hub-end of each rotor bade as part of a new approach to controlling each blade individually. It will reduce noise emission and vibration, consequently improving the passenger comfort and minimizing acoustic pollution on the ground.  Servicing costs are also likely to sink, as the new technology is less complex than conventional, mechanical technology for the control of individual rotor blades, which requires a swashplate and additional control rods.

Just over 3 liters buildspace is available for the 3-phase frequency converter unit when mounted at the hub-end of each rotor blade. Stacking and compact assembly is therefore indispensible if all required features and the required redundancies are to be accommodated. Unlike many of our projects, in which we collaborate with industry and others, all ELBA research and development is being carried out by Fraunhofer IZM.

Project Partners:

  • ZF Luftfahrttechnik GmbH
  • Maccon GmbH