HORYZN – harnessing UAVs for social good
HORYZN is a student initiative focused on real-world use cases for UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). The team from TU Munich works collaboratively on the design, development, and implementation of UAVs for social good. Voith Composites was approached to support HORZYN’s latest project, an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) UAV for medical emergencies, providing its CFRP tooling solution – Carbon4Tool - which has helped the project achieve early success.
HORYZN was founded in 2019 to channel the theoretical knowledge gained at TU Munich and turn it into practical solutions to real-world problems. After the success of its first project, Project Silencio, a new team came together to develop Mission Pulse.
It recognizes the fact that only 11% of patients who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest in Germany survive. The purpose of Mission Pulse is to shorten the time a patient must wait for potentially life saving treatment from a defibrillator by delivering one via a UAV.
Taking the project to new heights with Voith Composites
Having a subsidiary in Garching, which is also where TU Munich is based, meant the team at HORYZN was already familiar with Voith Composites. A collaboration was the next step, once the developers at HORYZN decided they wanted to use carbon fiber materials to build the aircraft, which meant they needed access to prepreg tools made from carbon fiber and epoxy resin.
But it wasn’t just about getting hold of the right advanced materials and application tooling, it was about knowledge sharing. HORYZN knew they needed to work with an organization that could support gaps in their knowledge and help them take their project to the next level.
They were aware of the innovative processes Voith Composites offers alongside its proven experience of utilizing new technologies – specifically with carbon fiber reinforced prepreg tooling materials. This is why they chose to work with Voith Composites.
With Carbon4Tool from Voith Composites, HORZYN is leveraging the benefits of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) prepreg stacks to build and enhance its UAV. This includes the production of cost-effective components with performance in mind and no compromise on durability. Quality components will help HORYZN secure industry accreditations and approval for its UAV when it is complete.
The Process – from concept to reality
HORYZN knew Mission Pulse was going to be a challenge. As a large student team (based at a technical university) with gaps in their practical knowledge, they knew they needed to work with an organization that could support them. Particularly once they had decided they wanted to build an aircraft using lightweight carbon fiber materials.
The conceptual development of the drone was the first step. This allowed the team to create a detailed design plan that included the aircraft’s component parts. From here, they analyzed each part, defined the dimensions, and calculated the aerodynamic specifications.
Voith Composites provided the advanced materials required to build the prepreg tools
Once completed, the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) team designed the aircraft. Using the CAD data, the team was able to mill the molds used to make the prepreg tools. The surfaces were cleaned and sealed to enhance durability, which was a key consideration for the team. HORYZN is working towards authorization, so its UAVs can be used in real-world situations. That’s why the avionics and flight-testing team must undertake rigorous tests to ensure all the electronics, power systems, and other mechanisms are working as they should be.
Voith Composites provided the advanced materials to build the CFRP tools made from Carbon4Tool prepreg stacks. The tools were cured in an autoclave, as the pressurized process removes any trapped air and helps to compress the material. The rationale for using CFRP prepreg tooling was based on the benefits they offer – time and cost efficiencies. The Mission Pulse aircraft has a wingspan of over 2.5 meters and weighs around 16kgs. The payload is around 2kgs. The finished product must be durable yet lightweight enough to travel at speed (cruise speed is 120 km/h). It must be fast, as the aim is to reach a medical emergency in less than 6 minutes.
As well as speed, the UAV has been developed to hover for long periods of time. This is a key requirement as it allows for the defibrillator to be lowered so the medical professionals (who are alerted via an app) have everything they need to administer the life-saving treatment.
The result – an optimized aircraft designed to save lives
As a result of the CFRP tooling expertise provided by Voith Composites, HORYZN streamlined the development and manufacturing processes. This means the Mission Pulse team is on track to meet their targets for the rest of the year, which will result in a UAV that can save lives. The team at HORYZN is already planning to work with Voith Composites on a new project after the success of this collaboration. Working with Voith Composites and their Carbon4Tool has given the HORYZN team a competitive advantage and enhanced their theoretical knowledge.