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.

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.

First Solar-Powered Flight Across America Lands in New York

By Elena

Giving people the power to imagine sustainable innovations is the core purpose behind Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, and nothing embodies that spirit more than Solar Impulse.  New York City was the final stop in the solar plane’s cross-country tour, and if you are lucky enough to be in the area this weekend, you can see the airplane for yourself on Sunday (July 14) at John F. Kennedy Airport! Just sign up here: http://solarimpulseatnyconsunday.eventbrite.com/

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg spent the last decade envisioning and building the solar powered airplane that could fly long distances, and last weekend it completed one of its first major tests.  The team landed at JFK after a two month journey that started in San Francisco, and included stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C.

Making the Solar Impulse plane was no small feat – it includes nearly 12,000 silicon solar cells and 880 pounds of batteries to store electricity that powers four electric motors.  Being an experimental plane also made it subject to Federal Aviation Administration regulations that stipulate it must take off in the early morning hours, before other air traffic.  As a result, the solar-powered aircraft flew day and night to complete its historic journey.

This is truly a milestone in the aerospace industry and a precursor to what the future holds for us all – clean and sustainable aircraft.  Dassault Systèmes is proud to be a specialty partner in the endeavor to make it a reality!

What’s next for the Solar Impulse team?  They’re taking the lessons learned from their cross country journey and planning an around-the-world flight for 2015.

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