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

By Christian
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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
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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.

Robotics MEGA-Trends at School

By Tony
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IMG_0129

 

 As I posted recently in this manufacturing blog, robotics is trending in a big way, but not just in industry. And schools across the globe are making sure that students are well prepared for this huge wave of automation, robotics and technology coming in the very near future. Schools are not only teaching technology in the classrooms, but are organizing teams and having students compete in different robot competitions. These competitions help students learn and excel in science and math through teamwork and competition. Students learn real-world problem solving by building and programming a robot to compete against other robotics teams. Programs such as FIRST Robotics and FIRST Lego League help to propel students forward. They also support the schools underlying initiative called STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

It takes all kinds of community support

Professionals from many different walks of life have chosen to take on the challenge of coaching these after school teams to help young scientists and engineers further their skills. These robotics teams are very popular with the kids today. In fact, they are so popular that most schools don’t have enough teams or coaches to support the number of students that are interested. While Robotics is definitely mega-trending,, there is a shortage of adult leaders to coach and mentor these young scientists.

Remember why you became an engineer?

Coaching a team gives me such a great feeling of achievement that I cannot understand why anybody would not want to become a coach or support one of these teams in their own community. These young people are so eager to learn and grow, and technology comes to them so naturally. After all, they have been raised around technology their entire lives, so building and programming devices comes easily to them. I love helping these young engineers grow and thrive using technology. I also like being a role model. Because I have a career in robotics, you could say I have Rockstar status. When the team gets tired or frustrated, I’ll try to shift their focus away from the challenges and look at the bigger picture. I start telling stories about my experiences and what it’s like to work with robots. I show pictures and short videos about all the exciting things that robots can do. I love to see their eyes open wide when their brains start imagining the mechanical wonders that computers and mechanical devices can achieve. Dreaming is a lot of the fun for kids, and science and technology teaches us that dreams can become reality. When it comes to the field of robotics, there’s no end in sight. When I see technology stories in the news, I think about all these fine young students that have the technology bug. It occurs to me that technology and the robotics industry definitely have the best days ahead. So I am truly excited when I talk to school kids about technology. I tell them with the utmost confidence that robotics, science and technology have a lot to offer and they should reach for the stars and dream big. That’s what I did.  I have been very fortunate to have a career in robotics, automation and technology. There truly is nothing more exciting than working in a high technology industry that’s so strong and innovative. It’s also refreshing to know that the growth in this industry seems to be finally hitting its stride.

To see more about trends in robotics, visit our community at:
https://swym.3ds.com/#community:179
To see the report The Rise of Robotics by the Boston Consulting Group, visit:

https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/business_unit_strategy_innovation_rise_of_robotics/



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