Success Stories - Héroux-Devtek

The Company

Headquartered in Longueuil, Québec, Héroux-Devtek is a Canadian company serving the aerospace market from facilities located in Quebec, Ontario, Ohio, USA and most recently the UK, through its acquisition of British landing gear company APPH. Established in 1942, Héroux-Devtek employs approximately 1,400 personnel and has distinguished itself as a niche player in the development and production of integrated landing gear systems as well as electronic enclosures for the avionics market in both the commercial and military sectors.

The Project

The five-year New Technologies for Landing Gear SADI Project supported research and development activities with the objective of testing and integrating new materials, processes, components and technologies into the design of landing gear systems produced by the company. This has allowed Héroux-Devtek to position itself to equip the next generation of aircraft with landing gear systems that significantly improve the performance, reliability, and durability of the systems as well as reduce environmental impacts.

With the SADI support, we were able to push the technologies to the next level and incorporate them into the manufacturing process—this is necessary to ensure we keep our track record for quality and remain first in class—SADI helped us increase our pace and thus increase our success.

Remy Langelier, Director, Business Development, Héroux-Devtek.

Results

The research and development project was successful in allowing Héroux-Devtek 's design team to integrate innovative new technologies into their landing gear systems. Through the progressive use of lower-weight materials, environmental-friendly surface treatments and innovative product designs, Héroux-Devtek was able to develop more robust products that excel in extreme environments. Moreover, advancements in various software tools, which were used to support simulation and modeling during the testing phase, allowed Héroux-Devtek to optimize designs with improvements to system performance, longevity of the aircraft and lower maintenance requirements.

As a result, Héroux-Devtek successfully met the more stringent environmental requirements set forth by the aviation industry and international regulatory agencies through a number of initiatives including: (i) reducing the use of dangerous products during the manufacturing process such as hexavalent chromium, cadmium and beryllium; and, (ii) increasing the use of advanced composite materials for lighter weight and improved corrosion resistance; (iii) introducing advanced welding processes such as friction welding which also reduce the overall weight of the aircraft thus reducing fuel burn and ultimately, the emission of greenhouse gases.

Héroux-Devtek has also expanded the breadth of its product offerings by developing more comprehensive solutions within its landing gear portfolio than it did in the past. These include landing gear for helicopters, door locking mechanisms, emergency release systems, hypersensitive detection systems and automated control systems, to name a few. Beyond the new materials and technologies for the landing gear systems themselves, Héroux-Devtek was also successful in advancing their integration and monitoring technologies, allowing the landing gear system to interact effectively with other components on the aircraft, including the braking system, thus optimizing overall aircraft operations, performance and safety. The development of these systems has allowed Héroux-Devtek to offer clients a fully integrated landing gear that comprise components and systems which are operable from the cockpit at the wheel-ground contact point.

As a result of the technological advances achieved during the SADI project, Héroux-Devtek now has a significant competitive advantage and has positioned themselves as a leading-edge supplier of integrated landing gear systems. The company is able to provide a comprehensive, value-added product and service line to customers at a more sophisticated level, thus allowing the company to meet customer requirements, continue their tradition of quality on-time delivery and according to the company, reach their ultimate goal of being "first in class" in the competitive landing gear market.

As such, they are currently the only Canadian company and one of few global firms specializing in integrated landing gear systems and as a result are now responsible for the landing gear development programs for Sikorsky Ch-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter, Bombardier Learjet 85 Business Jet and Embraer Legacy 450/500 Business Jet.

Embraer Legacy 450/500 Business Jet Landing Gear

Embraer Legacy 450/500 Business Jet Landing Gear

Héroux-Devtek has achieved this success through a focused R&D effort, with collaborative support from the Centre Technologique en Aérospatiale, located in St. Hubert, Quebec, to undertake sophisticated testing on the landing gear equipment and further the development of advanced composite materials. Héroux-Devtek was able to benefit from expert knowledge at the Centre, which is a well-known technological transfer hub dedicated to the application of aerospace technologies, technical support and coaching. Héroux-Devtek also collaborates with its supply chain and their customers, from the requirements definition right through to prototype testing and the maintenance, service, and overhaul stages of the product cycle. In addition, Héroux-Devtek engaged 35 interns throughout the project duration from a variety of local universities, including Universitié de Sherbrooke, Concordia University, École Polytechnique, McGill, Laval and École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS). These placements not only allowed students to apply the skills and knowledge they learned from the classroom setting but also gave them hands-on experience and a broader exposure to R&D activities within the industry. Héroux-Devtek will subsequently be able to draw on this pool of talent for future work.

In Summary

This SADI research and development project has enabled Héroux-Devtek to position itself as a major player in the provision of integrated landing gear solutions. In addition, Héroux-Devtek has built solid business relationships with several of the world's leading aircraft and helicopter manufacturers, including Bombardier, Embraer and Sikorsky. Ultimately, Héroux-Devtek is contributing to Canada both in terms of maintaining and improving its global position as a significant player in the aerospace industry through its continuing investments in human resources, skills and innovative research and development.

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