Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI) specializes in the design and production of compressors, fans, pumps, turbines, and turbopumps for the aerospace industry including both DC and 400 hz AC powered offerings. Engineered products are designed using the aerospace ConDR/PDR/CDR process, typically addressing a variety of MIL standards. BNI can offer a full suite of qualification tests, often through local suppliers. Additionally, BNI specializes in the contract manufacturing of both individual components and complete assemblies. Innovative designs, experience, expertise with exotic materials, and AS9100:2004 quality standards make BNI an obvious choice for the design and production of aeronautics hardware.
BNI offers motor driven pumps and blowers, but also designs specialty mechanically driven machines as well such as this belt driven coolant pump. This machine was tailored for compactness and light weight along with the leak free assurance of a magnetic coupling.
Barber-Nichols' Avionics Coolant Pump in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
BNI uses an Electrochemical Machining (ECM) process to produce the Thrust Reverser Actuator for the JT9D Engine which is used on a variety of civilian aircraft including the Boeing 747. ECM is one of many unique capabilities at BNI's disposal. The ECM tool (pictured below) is used to remove material from the center of each of the three helical lobes on the Thrust Reverser Actuator. Removing the material from the center of the lobes reduces the weight and inertia of the rotor. ECM is the only process that can perform this operation at a reasonable cost.
|Thrust Reverser Actuator for the JT9D Engine|
BNI also uses the ECM process to produce the turbine nozzle rings for the Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) turbopumps on Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's 754,000 pound thrust RS-68 Engine which is used on the Delta IV Heavy.
|Barber-Nichols' Rocket Engine Turbopump Nozzle Rings in Delta IV Heavy|
BNI produces the five-axis turbine wheel for the F-15 Eagle's gas turbine engine starter. These turbines are manufactured from Astroloy™ and require an 8 to 1 depth to diameter endmill. Additionally, each turbine requires eight hours of hand work before final inspection.
|Five-Axis Turbine Wheel for the F-15 Eagle's Gas Turbine Engine Starter|
BNI engineered, produced, and tested a wide range of equipment for numerous astronautic applications. BNI's space flight hardware includes liquid rocket engine turbopumps, fuel densification systems, liquid fuel thruster pumps, and environmental control system pumps and fans. The space flight industry's strict design specifications, specialized material requirements, and conformance to high quality standards have provided an opportunity for Barber-Nichols' engineering team to hone its innovative skills.
Most of today's largest rockets utilize LOX and LH2 as engine propellants. Engineers at Rockwell Space Systems pioneered a simple idea for the densification of propellants which will revolutionize space travel. By lowering the temperatures of these fluids prior to transport to the launch vehicle's tanks, the volume required to store the propellants is reduced by approximately 7-15%. This substantially reduces tank size requirements and launch vehicle weight. With low earth orbit cost estimates at $10,000 per pound, this process results in substantial savings and the ability to launch greater payloads. Barber-Nichols designed and built the intricate series of pumps and compressors used on the first scaled-down version of this innovative system. Originally tested at NASA's Lewis Plumbrook Field Station, results were positive. A full-sized system was then designed and built for both oxygen and hydrogen and tested at NASA's Glenn Research Center.