Improve Part Search and Reuse in Aerospace & Defense Programs: The Path to Significant Productivity and Quality Improvements

By Ellen

According to industry analysts Aberdeen Group, the annual carrying costs of introducing a new part number range between $4,500 and $23,000 per item. When a designer or engineer decides to create a new part instead of searching to see whether it already exists, significant expenses can be incurred. In product development alone, new part designs have to be analyzed, validated, and prototyped, steps that can consume valuable R&D resources and delay time-to-market. Moreover, by making something new instead of utilizing tried-and-tested designs, new part development can increase the risk of problems related to quality and manufacturability.

Reusing existing parts instead of creating new is not a new problem. Most companies have put in place a system for doing so. But do companies realize the value of carrying over even small, high-volume standard parts? Carrying these parts can be astoundingly costly. For example, a large aerospace supplier discovered that 10% of the brackets required for a plane’s nose cone were identical. Reusing these parts led to 10,000 hours saved and reallocated to more high-value projects. Other savings were realized by avoiding testing, administration, sourcing, storage and other expenses. They saved about €500,000 in engineering capacity in only 2 months!

Clearly, by leveraging existing designs, every aspect of a manufacturing enterprise and extended supply chain—including product design, engineering, documentation, procurement, purchasing, manufacturing, inventory, distribution, service, sales, marketing, and management—will become more efficient, improving quality while accelerating time-to-market, which can lead to more satisfied and loyal customers.

But what’s the best way to carry over? There are a number of search applications on the market. Those based solely on shape have shortcomings, which limit their ability to meet the search needs of today’s manufacturing enterprises. Shape search packages typically support geometry searches from within the specific CAD, PLM, or software application, and fail to tap into an organization’s extended data trove of product information. Finding the CAD file is not enough, as it’s not possible to know whether that part was actually produced, or maybe only created by a student during a training period at the organization.

What’s really needed is a solution structured to search and capture information. A key aspect of Engineered to Fly, an industry solution experience for small and medium-sized aerospace companies, EXALEAD OnePart, provides the structure for users to search and capture all the relevant information to reuse parts. The powerful search capability finds the CAD file and gathers all existing part-related information no matter the format. The rich search capabilities add similarity, metadata, and semantic-linked documents and related information—through an integrated search experience that mirrors the manner in which popular Internet search engines and user-friendly ecommerce applications operate. Users throughout the organization, whether savvy with CAD technology or not, are able to quickly discover if a part exists by simply shortlisting the possible designs, comparing them, checking their similarity, navigating parent/child relationships, and assembling related documents to revitalize the product development enterprise.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

How Does OnePart Help Engineering?

Aberdeen estimates that 44% of an engineer’s time is spent searching for or recreating parts. With OnePart, designers and engineers will be more productive devoting more time to innovative new projects, delivering them faster. These productivity improvements will extend beyond product development while alleviating the informational demands on designers and engineers. Because colleagues in other departments do not need a CAD system to access data related to a part. they simply use their Web browser to quickly find any information they need to support other business functions. Users save time because it’s not necessary to contact product development for the information they need.

How does OnePart Help Manufacturing?

Incorporating an existing part that has already passed quality reviews into a new product is a “known quantity” for the manufacturing team. Personnel and manufacturing time are saved, as are time and costs incurred by tooling. These resources can be used to increase the volume of existing products or reallocated to other projects.

How does OnePart Help Procurement?

A less obvious beneficiary of reducing duplicate parts is the purchasing department. Purchasing personnel are able to search the ERP and associate its contents with documentation found in other systems. Reusing parts decreases stocking costs, leading to savings without damaging important relations with suppliers.

Engineered to Fly with EXALEAD OnePart Benefits

• Increased part reuse to speed program completion and part standardization
• Lower costs resulting from avoidance of duplicate part creation and release risk
• Higher engineering capacity to drive new innovation
• Enhanced performance to production and budget targets
• Increased quality and reduce time-to-market

Attending the Paris International Air Show? See EXALEAD OnePart featured as part the Engineered to Fly industry solution experience demonstrations.

Find out why the path to significant productivity and quality improvements starts with OnePart and Engineered to Fly. Based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Engineered to Fly ensures repeatability and reusability, allowing companies to reduce the time spent on tactical proposal management and freeing them to respond to more Requests for Quotes (RFQ) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) with improved accuracy on areas such as schedule and cost.
What kind of ROI is possible with Exalead OnePart? See the savings an aerospace company might achieve in this infographic.

Click to find out more information on Dassault Systèmes involvement at the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget.

Learning from Nature Fuels Aerospace Innovation

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar

Imagine a trans-Atlantic flight in the future: you’re sitting on seats whose fabrics resist dirt, the way lotus flowers remain clean and dry in a wet and dirty environment. The plane’s exterior is covered with tiny ridges, like sharkskin, which reduce drag. The plane is part of a scheduled V-formation, which saves fuel.

Icarus donned man-made wings in Greek mythology. Leonardo DaVinci drew flying machines. “In the 21st century, we’re not just trying to emulate bird-flight, but trying to understand how birds are so successful,” says Norman Wood, an expert on aerodynamics and flow control at Airbus.

Flying bee

Imitating nature has a name: biomimicry. It has three aspects, Dr. Wood explains.

First is nature as a mentor. We observe how living things succeed and understand what they’re doing. “It’s the art of the possible,” Dr. Wood says. “If we want aerospace vehicles to improve, we can say, ‘Insects can do it—so why can’t we?’”

Second is nature as a model. “We can ask, ‘How do insects fly—and can we transfer their approach into aerospace vehicles?” he says.

Third is nature as a measure. Simple calculations show that bees shouldn’t be able to fly and yet they are extremely successful. “Using the techniques bees use to achieve flight, we can measure how successful we could be ultimately—and how much further we could take a technology if we were to be as efficient as nature,” Dr. Wood says.

Nature by definition is successful,” he says. “So it’s an extremely good benchmark. We’re now moving into a deeper investigation, known as biomimicry, understanding the details of what nature can achieve and using that to fuel our innovation.”

Nature by definition is successful Tweet: “Nature by definition is successful” – @Airbus learns from nature to fuel innovation: http://ctt.ec/f425O+ via @Dassault3DS #biomimicry”

Take sharkskin, which is covered with rough, dermal denticles (hard, tooth-like scales) that decrease drag. Transferring that technology on to aircraft would cut fuel-consumption and thus reduce emissions.

Shark skin

Airbus has developed an aerospace surface with “riblets” that resemble shark skin.

Small patches of sharkskin-like material are currently undergoing tests on Airbus aircraft in commercial service in Europe, to see how it stands up to rain, hail, cleaning, ground contamination and other challenges.

Birds are an obvious model for aerospace biomimicry. Hawks survive thanks to their ability to execute extreme maneuvers in woodlands, or over cliffs, in order to catch their prey. They do it by maneuvering at or very near to their “maximum lift” condition. For aircraft, maximum lift is the point at which they can no longer stay in straight and level flight and stall, experiencing a sudden decline in lift.

Hawk

Pilots, aircraft owners and makers are legally required to maintain a safety margin from that condition occurring.

Many birds fly near maximum lift by using feathers on the top of their wings to detect when the airflow over the wings reaches that condition. The bird has evolved a nervous system that enables it to quickly modify its wing shape to manage the flow near maximum lift to maintain safe flight and maximum performance.

Airbus is looking at how to use surfaces on the wing to replicate the control demonstrated by birds.

Can we react quickly enough to define how we can make small changes to the wing and not go beyond a safe condition?” says Dr. Wood. “Our aspiration would be that we create an aircraft in the future that has its own nervous system. A bird doesn’t think, ‘oh, I’m at maximum lift and I have to do this.’ It makes the change automatically.”

The result could allow lower approach and takeoff speeds, as well as lighter wings, saving weight and therefore fuel.

Not all biomimicry involves new technology. Migrating birds fly in V-shaped formations partly because birds behind the leader can save a lot of energy, by flying in its wake.

Geese in flight

Transferring that to aerospace was assumed to require that aircraft fly close together, presenting traffic control, piloting and safety concerns. However, “as we get more understanding as to how and why birds do it, we find that the flapping of their wings destabilizes the wake behind them. So they have to fly close together to gain benefit.”

Aircraft get thrust from engines, not from flapping their wings, so the wake is not so chaotic. “We have the luxury of having fixed-wing aircraft, a structure that allows the benefit to persist, sometimes for many miles downstream, to trailing aircraft,” he says.

NASA recently demonstrated a 5% to 10% fuel saving by flying aircraft in formation up to a kilometer apart. Such a gap eliminates many of the issues of having commercial aircraft flying close together.

Over 400 commercial flights cross the North Atlantic in each direction every day. If even half were arranged into formations, “the impact on fuel-burn on those routes could be significant,” Dr. Wood says. “With no change to aircraft, we can achieve fuel savings. It’s one example where we can potentially exceed the benefits produced by nature.”

For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.

Live from #FIA14 (Farnborough International Airshow)

By Aurelien

Farnborough International Airshow #FIA14

We’re at Farnborough International Airshow! And for the first time this year, we have our own Chalet at the show, including dedicated meeting spaces and a 3DEXPERIENCE Playground. If you’re attending the trade show and didn’t meet with us yet, there is still time to do so by requesting a meeting here.

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