Using product-lifecycle-management (PLM) technology from Dassault Systèmes, Dassault Aviation cut assembly time by 50% for its 7X business jet, an aircraft developed in an entirely virtual environment.
Dassault Aviation used product-lifecycle-management (PLM) technology from Dassault Systèmes to not only cut assembly time by 50% for its 7X business jet but also to develop the aircraft in an entirely virtual environment, from design to manufacturing to maintenance. Reportedly, this is a first for the aircraft industry.
The single PLM environment, based on Dassault Systèmes' Catia, Enovia, and Delmia solutions, let Dassault Aviation and its 27 partners in seven countries work on a common, collaborative, 3D virtual platform. In addition, the company used Smarteam to manage and track airplane systems.
The jet's 30,000 parts were designed with Catia. Through Enovia, more than 1,000 engineers managed, exchanged, and worked in real-time on up-to-date designs, including interface data for partner-designed sections. With Delmia and its human-modeling modules, specialists analyzed and optimized the jet's design for crucially important aircraft maintenance-and-repair procedures. Gains in assembly time and part quality stemmed from the virtual platform's precision. The 7X's digital mock-up was so accurate that fittings, supports, and tubing virtually developed fit perfectly when assembled in the physical world. This not only reduced the number of traditional assembly tools needed but also eliminated building a physical prototype. The first jet built is used for certification.
"Initially, we had to convince our partners of the benefits of a virtual platform, of sharing data, and working in context," explains Jean-Claude Hironde, senior vice president, research, design, and engineering at Dassault Aviation. "But today, with data updated overnight, as opposed to the former two-month modification cycle, there is simply no comparison."
"The virtual platform has fundamentally changed the way we view building airplanes," says Jacques Pellas, CIO at Dassault Aviation. "Adopting PLM means improving the circulation of information in a company, redefining its processes, and reorganizing company structures. This is the beginning of a new industrial revolution."