Spotlight on MEMKO: Pushing Collaboration Across the Project Life Cycle to Revolutionize Design and Construction

By Akio
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When Miro Miletic began his career with Boeing in the 1990s, the aviation industry was at the precipice of tremendous change.

Although designers still produced paper drawings for each aircraft, 3DCAD was emerging as a drawing alternative.

Miro Miletic, Managing Director and founder of MEMKO PTY LTD

Miro Miletic, Managing Director and founder of MEMKO PTY LTD

With the 777, Miletic was part of the team to design and build an aircraft using 3D CAD as the master model.

The next step was the 787: the first aircraft designed without paper using Model Based Definition (MBD). Everyone, from supply to production, worked from digital models. The design process realized incredible new efficiencies with this move.

Today, from his position as founder of technology service provider MEMKO Pty Ltd. in Australia, Miletic is urging the AEC industry to recognize the efficiencies it, too, stands to gain from a digital transition.

Jumping Across Industries

His decades as a Boeing executive also gave Miletic an appreciation for the art of integrating solutions across industries. Since founding MEMKO in 2007, Miletic has been more focused than ever on that goal. MEMKO provides technology solutions, engineering and training for a variety of industries, including aerospace, defence, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) and others.

However, Miletic has seen within the AEC sector a potentially crippling reluctance to learn from other industries.

Eagerness to adopt solutions from other sectors was one of Boeing’s greatest strengths, he notes. For example, when the company decided to switch to use of large-scale carbon fiber composites with the 787 aircraft, experts looked to other industries using those materials, from yacht manufacturing to sporting goods. “The learning is not directly transferable but you can adopt those ideas to suit your industry,” Miletic says.

“It’s very important to learn from other industries and then modify to suit your particular industry requirements — but I think it requires a certain person and organization that has an open mind.”

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “Learn from other industries & modify to suit
your particular requirements. Open minds required.” -MM #Memko

Miletic sees this transfer of knowledge across industries as a potential solution to a problem plaguing not only the Australian AEC sector, but the global industry as a whole: inefficiency and waste.

But it is the possibilities for creating solutions to this problem that attracts Miletic to the AEC field. “The opportunity for breakthrough changes in addressing these challenges is phenomenal,” he says.

Getting Buy-In

In many regards, Miletic finds, projects owners are ready for innovative new solutions for reducing inefficiency. Improving design and construction productivity is a particularly big concern for the Australian government, he finds, as they remain the major funding source for most of the country’s infrastructure projects.

“The Australian government realized quite early that the lack of productivity in the sector is costing it and, ultimately, the taxpayers money, so there was an inquiry into the productivity of the Australian AEC industry sector about five years ago,” Miletic explains.

While Australia has not gone so far as, for example, the United Kingdom with its mandate requiring use of BIM on government projects, the country is supporting research from industry associations, academia and others to improve productivity.

In addition, as traditional manufacturing sectors such as automotive decline, the Australian government is urging manufacturers across those supply chains to move into the AEC sector.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: Australian govt is urging manufacturers
across supply chains to move into #AEC sector

Miletic predicts that this will naturally lead to greater “cross-pollination” of ideas across industries.

Critics’ Dragging Feet

Many of the country’s AEC companies, however, seem reluctant to adopt this mindset of finding value outside of the traditional way of doing things.

But the aerospace industry once shared that reluctance. Miletic recalls arguments against adopting the automotive industry’s total quality management concept in the 1990s.

“In aerospace we were saying ‘we’re different, we don’t have the volume of production that automotive has.’ Now I’m hearing similar things from my AEC colleagues,” he says.

Critics who say that the investment in tools that simplify the design process is unjustifiable because “every building is unique” are not looking at the bigger picture. “It’s not true. Instead of focusing on products, you focus on process,” Miletic says.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “Every Building is Unique” argument
misses the big picture. Focus on process not product.

Integrated design tools such as BIM can allow designers and contractors to simplify common elements across their unique projects, speeding each project’s time to market while providing more successful projects.

Exploring New Solutions

Miletic sees big opportunities for improving AEC industry productivity in the project planning and execution phases primarily by taking modeling and simulation to a greater level of detail than is currently practiced.

In the BIM projects he sees, he finds architects, engineers and fabricators may do just enough modeling to create a detailed drawing for their own use, but rarely does he see these efforts integrated.

This lack of data integration leads to change orders and other slowdowns in the field.

“There’s a lot of problem solving onsite, and all of this is waste,” Miletic says.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “There’s a lot of problem solving
on the #construction site. All of this is waste.”

But there’s another area where greater use of integrated modeling tools can drive efficiency, and that’s in facility management and operations.

“The design and construction phase is really minimal compared to the 40 to 50 year lifecycle over which the building has to be maintained,” Miletic says. “Managing that information through the life of the effort is really the biggest opportunity.”

Tools for the Life of the Project

In that regard, MEMKO was able to use the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform to help one Australian Government Agency to digitally structure its building data from hand drawings dating to the 1890s to today’s CAD files.

“The challenge they were facing was to manage that information so it’s easy to retrieve for their maintenance and design providers,” Miletic explains.

MEMKO used the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create an electronic drawing management system that stores and indexes building information, making it easier than ever for maintenance and future design teams to retrieve asset engineering data.

Should the building owner want to upgrade or modify one of their properties, the design team simply needs to search and retrieve the current information related to the asset, do their design work and then, once the design is finalized, the building owner can upload new information for future access by their maintenance provider.

Next Steps

For now, the evolution to more integrated design and construction teams is still at the beginning. There are great opportunities to improve efficiency in the entire lifecycle. AEC customers need to consider how to connect architectural design to the fabrication or construction phase by using sophisticated BIM solutions like 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

Miletic points out that Australia is a country of growth. As the growing population drives the need for more infrastructure and other construction, it will become increasingly necessary for AEC professionals to bring projects more quickly, affordably and successfully to market. To do so will require greater collaboration across companies and, perhaps, industries.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “Spotlight on MEMKO: Pushing Collaboration Across the Project Life Cycle to Revolutionize Design & Construction”

Related Resources:

Collaborative and Industrialized Construction

Optimized Construction

Learn more about MEMKO

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:

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
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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: 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.


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.

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