[PART 2] DELMIA Helps the Aerospace Industry Meet the Challenges of Composite Manufacturing

By Christian

Composite wing flap at Airbus
A composite wing flap in Filton, Bristol.
Source: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, UK.

I’m Christian Chaplais, Senior Manager of R&D DELMIA Enterprise Intelligence Applications. Welcome to the  second blog  of a two-part series on how  Operational Intelligence is helping the Aerospace & Defense Industry.

Finding a Way Around the Complexity of Composite Manufacturing

Many composite parts manufacturers have been exposed to quality issues for years. Some have used classic approaches such as simple statistics, advanced statistics or optimization consulting services to find an answer, but came up short.

So, the question remains. How do you solve composite manufacturing issues without going through all the complexities? There is a way to discover and apply an empirical (data-based) model without the complications in just a few weeks: Operations Intelligence (O/I).

With (O/I) Process Rules Discovery, for example, quality engineers or process and product experts can discover patterns (or rules) explaining whether results have been satisfactory or not. This can be done with a limited number of observations, which keeps down costs, in a ramp-up study.

Process and product experts can also understand the model with Process Rules Discovery, change it by editing the rules and immediately see the impact on the rule KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) based on facts (data).

Here’s a sample rule discovered by Process Rules Discovery:

sample rule

The rule can be interpreted as:

When the product is in the autoclave for an extended period of time (cure cycle time is high)…
…and the binding strength of the fiber is low,
…and fibers have been aging sufficiently,
then the quality is good.

Let’s take another O/I example. With Operations Advisor, shop floor workers can assess risk and take preventive or corrective action in real-time. Operations Advisor recommends values for actionable parameters (settings) without requiring any change to the process specifications or investment in new material.

operations advisor

[Operations Advisor risk assessment and proposed settings ranges (in green)]

Adopting Operations Intelligence

The DELMIA Operations Intelligence solution for Composites has been widely adopted by the Aerospace & Defense Industry from both OEMs and tier-one suppliers.

For several years, one company has been faced with an important and repetitive nonconformance issue (delamination) on the composite leading edge of wings for an aircraft manufacturer. On this family of products, the reject rate could reach 13% and the rework rate 28%. There were delays (up to 6 months of manufacturing backlog), extra internal costs, a loss of confidence from the customer and internal frustration. Multiple quality tasks including process audits, investigating new processes, SPC analysis, inspections of raw material, etc. did not solve the problem.

They then decided to use Operations Intelligence to analyze two years of production. In less than six weeks, two influent parameters, unsuspected until now, were identified (the fluidity of the resin and the time during which the part is kept under vacuum), as well as the recommended lower and higher limits for these parameters. By applying the rules discovered, they managed to instantly reduce the scrap rate to zero and the rework rate to 1%, removing any backlog shortly after.

I’d like to hear your experiences with Composite Manufacturing? What was the outcome?

Continue the technical conversation. Join the DELMIA Enterprise Intelligence Community: https://swym.3ds.com/#community:453

 

[PART 1] DELMIA Helps the Aerospace Industry Meet the Challenges of Composite Manufacturing

By Christian

Hi, I’m Christian Chaplais, Senior Manager of R&D DELMIA Operations Intelligence Applications. This blog is the first of a two-part series on how  Operational Intelligence is helping the Aerospace & Defense Industry.

The Growing Footprint of Composite Materials in the Aerospace and Defense Industry

It’s an interesting concept when one thinks of composite materials. By now, you’re most likely somewhat familiar with—and may have heard about– the benefits that these combined materials, such as carbon fibers, can result in. Composite materials have become wide-spread in civil aircrafts after being used for years in the defense industry. And why not? The benefits are huge. Composite materials allow producing lightweight structures which in turn reduce fuel bills and emissions.

According to a 2014 report, Aerospace & Defense applications are now the largest consumers of carbon fiber (30% of demand) and generate 50% of global carbon fiber revenues.

Industry analysts expect an annual growth of between 8 and 13% for carbon composites revenue in the passenger aircraft segment and between 6 and 12% in the defense segment.

Development of carbon composite revenues in US$ million in A&D

View source. Amounts in US $ millions.

New Processes, New Issues

There is a variety of processes used to manufacture composite materials:

CRP market share in US$ million by manufaturing process (2013)

View source. 2013 figures.

Prepregs, which account for 37%, are reinforcement materials that are pre-impregnated (hence the term “prepreg”) with a resin. The prepregs are laid up by hand or machine onto a mold surface, vacuum bagged and then heated to typically 120-180°C /248-356°F.

Autoclaves and materials have a high cost, but because of the quality and lightness of the material obtained, prepeg layup with autoclave has been until now the primary choice for the Aerospace and Defense industry.

However, new materials bring new challenges. And one major challenge is the unexpected occurrence of defects during the manufacturing of these costly composite parts.

The prepregs require storage at a controlled temperature and present certain inherent problems (variability of the raw material, variability of the processing methods used for the prepreg rolls, sensitivity of the raw material to the prevailing temperature and humidity rate in the production environment…)

As a result, up to 20% of the parts may exhibit defects such as porosity and delamination which, albeit invisible to the naked eye, are nonetheless present in the mass. These faults weaken the resistance of a part, and when there are too many such faults, the part is discarded.

delamination

Zoom on a delamination issue at a leading edge of a wing

DELMIA Operations Intelligence offers a way round the complexity of composite manufacturing.
Find out how in my next blog post, Part 2 of “The Growing Footprint of Composite Materials in the Aerospace and Defense Industry.”

If you would like to continue the technical conversation on Operations Intelligence, go where all the experts are. Join the conversation at the DELMIA Enterprise Intelligence Community here: https://swym.3ds.com/#community:453

A View from the Ground at the Paris Air Show

By Ellen

The 51st Paris Air Show

The first two days of the Paris Air Show gave participants aerial demonstrations from the AIRBUS A350, A380 and A400M; Dassault Aviation Rafale and Falcon 8X; the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Patrouille de France. Also launched at the Paris Air Show, Dassault Systèmes announced Build to Operate, a new Industry Solution Experience for aerospace and defense companies that aims to maximize manufacturing operations.

Paris Air Show sign at Le Bourget

Global Manufacturing Efficiency

How does Build to Operate help manufacturers? For the past decade or so, large aviation OEMs have put a lot of effort in the design of increasingly composite aircraft. Given the growth in commercial aviation, aerospace manufacturers seek to implement more lean practices to improve program performance and equip global operations. One major way to improve performance is find a way to free data trapped in silos across the multitude of IT systems across the enterprise. Striving for lean manufacturing means having immediate access to information, removing labor intensive manual processes, and lower the risk to data integrity by eliminating the need to collect data over time and store it.

True manufacturing efficiency requires real-time data from across the enterprise. Essential to efficient and reactive manufacturing capability is the ability for all participants to work in unison, like a virtual symphony. Manufacturers must unite their global factories as one performing organization. This requires a platform that can integrate with other enterprise systems to ensure that all critical systems receive relevant shop-floor production information and support and synchronize global operations.

Build to Operate Provides Global Visibility and Control

Build to Operate helps both aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and large suppliers increase program efficiency and quality. Based on DELMIA Apriso, the solution offers Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) capabilities to monitor, control and validate all aspects of manufacturing. This frees up manufacturers to focus on more strategic operations.

Manufacturing Operations Management includes a wide range of functions, but one major advantage is that it allows manufacturers to make fully informed decisions because they enjoy a full view of operations. A lack of visibility can have serious impact to manufacturing operations, so Control Center for complete oversight – especially across the extended enterprise. Because if you are unable to see where you are headed, the likelihood of making a decision that can adversely impact global support and synchronization is a real consideration, with real-world consequences.
Instant visibility on all levels of productivity—plant, line, station, cell and individual— is a critical enabler for continuous improvement. ‘Build to Operate’ brings this capability to existing production lines and accelerates the ramp-up of new lines to reach optimal rate. By receiving all required data, plant managers can view, control and execute automated manufacturing operations through sensors in real time.

The Build to Operate solution offers the ability to monitor, control and validate all aspects of global manufacturing operations – all with digital precision. These capabilities range from replicable processes and production sequences, to the flow of deliverables throughout their supply chain.

Having these competencies allows manufacturers to manage global material supplies, logistics execution and production operations in one site and then execute across all global sites. Visibility into operations (both within a single plant and across all plants) results in better alignment with business performance targets, including WIP and Labor.

Enable the Future Factory Today

Build to Operate increases the efficiency of manufacturers’ existing lines and accelerates the production ramp up of new ones to enable future factory innovations, today. Michel Tellier, Vice President, Aerospace & Defense Industry, Dassault Systèmes explains,

Aerospace companies implementing this ‘factory of the future’ today can expect benefits that include as much as a 25 percent reduction in errors, 20 percent less waste and up to a 15 percent improvement in first-time quality.”

factory Scene_01_cropAnother announcement at the Paris Air Show was Air Bus Helicopter sharing its objective for the solution.

“We adopted Dassault Systèmes’ Build to Operate industry solution experience to improve manufacturing execution for our existing and future helicopters programs,” said Jean-Luc Sturlèse, Vice President, Production Flows Management, Airbus Helicopters. “By tightly unifying engineering with our change management process, and by implementing lean processes like just-in-time processing and paperless manufacturing, we aim to improve quality and accelerate production while lowering program costs.”

Read more about Build to Operate for aerospace and defense companies: http://www.3ds.com/industries/aerospace-defense/build-to-operate/

Ellen MondroEllen Mondro

Married to aerospace & defense, I write about and develop go to market strategy for @3dsaerospace solutions. It’s an honor to work in this industry and with companies that use technology to create advancements in space, aviation and security. In my precious free time you’ll find me enjoying warm weather, watching my kids’ baseball games and spending time with family and friends.



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