IAC Acoustic Company is a pioneer in the field of noise control. With over 65 years of experience, it has engineered products for a variety of uses, including airport noise control. Fraser Alexander, director of global test and aviation, tells us about its customisable solutions.

What is your offering to the aviation industry?

Fraser Alexander: We offer a range of products that have been developed over many years, based around our core business of noise control and acoustic products for the aviation industry. They range from the full turnkey supply of aero engine test facilities for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers globally, to the supply of maintenance and support contracts for products to the UK Ministry of Defence, overseas military customers and other MRO organisations. Airport products feature extensively in the portfolio, with ground run-up enclosures (GRE), jet wake and acoustic barriers, and acoustic havens for use at airport terminals.

What principles guide IAC’s product development?

IAC product development is based on three fundamental principles: providing a product that is technically superior to our competitors, keeping engineering simple so that manufacture and installation are straight-forward and cost-effective, and ensuring that there is flexibility in the product to allow the accommodation of customer input for bespoke arrangements.

What are the main features of your automatic data acquisition system (ADAS)?

It uses a standard Windows-based operating system and commercial off-the-shelf software and hardware. The system is then constructed using signal conditioning units, which allows the connection of a wide range of instrumentation devices with digital and analogue inputs and outputs. IAC ADAS configuration also brings the ability to produce full calibration processes, data reduction, black box recording and playback, as well as full integration with other facility systems, including interlocks and safe shutdown procedures.

The software and hardware combats obsolescence by being able to integrate the latest technological innovation. This ensures ongoing functionality on new platforms and operating systems.

The system architecture is fully scalable to suit customers’ requirements – from a few channels to over 1,000 – using a combination of chassis. Sample rates are also selectable and are ranged to cope with 10-600Hz depending on the speed and power of the host PC. The system can also be tailored to accept a multitude of signal types, including frequency, voltage, current, resistance temperature detector, thermocouple, acceleration, velocity, ARINC and load cells.

How customisable are your aero-engine test cells?

Within reason, infinitely so. There are basic design considerations for certain functional geometries, components and performance attributes, but these can be worked on simultaneously to ensure that a specification can be met with a unique or novel solution.

IAC Acoustics offers a range of testing facilities. What are some of their main features?

As you would expect, our main focus is on supplying exceptional and proven acoustic performance using our wide range of standard products. Other features include fully integrated aero-acoustic design, ensuring a fully functional test cell for performance measurements, and modular construction that brings flexibility to the design process and promotes rapid build. IAC always encourages full customer participation in design for safety, efficiency and everyday use.

Can you tell us a little about IAC’s range of barriers and what they offer?

Where possible, blast screens should be provided to protect vulnerable buildings, installations, vehicles and, of course, staff areas. Our range includes curved solid, vertical mesh, angled mesh and vertical acoustic barriers.

The curved solid barrier offers full height protection, deflects jet wake safely upwards and is rated for high-power operations. The vertical mesh deflects jet wake upwards at 60° and has a minimal footprint to maximise space. The angled mesh also offers full height protection, deflects jet wash upwards and is rated for use in breakaway power operations. Our vertical acoustic barrier reduces noise levels by 10-15dB(A).

In what ways has the industry evolved in recent years?

Most aircraft engine manufacturers now offer service contracts, so there are fewer non-OEM requirements for test facilities, particularly in the military market in Europe. The advent of the superfan for modern aircraft also means that test facilities are now very large and, therefore, are a significant infrastructure investment. Most of the new facilities in this range are by OEMs rather than MROs. Investment in GRE facilities has increased, with further development and implementation of civilian hush houses at airports with low-noise criteria.

What can we expect to see from IAC in the future?

There will be development in the barrier product line for mobile barriers, improvements in GRE modularity to benefit manufacturing and installation times, and greater levels of partnering on large test-bed projects. We are also expanding our market share in the Chinese aviation sector and broadening our global in-service support capabilities.