Dassault Systemes: A Virtual Lift To Aircraft Design

Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman & CEO Imagine yourself painting a landscape after just one glance at the scenery. It quickly becomes obvious how one would miss out on the intrinsic details that truly represent the actual depth of the view. Now, imagine designing and building high-precision aircraft equipment in a similar fashion, without seeing a clear picture of the end product. It’s the marvel of virtual reality and 3D modeling tools that have allowed the aviation mavens to analyze the inner workings of their inventions, making the new generation of airplanes lighter, stronger, cleaner, and even simpler.

Along with offering a visual glimpse of the final aircraft even before its production, 3D modeling and simulation software are helping engineers leverage lighter construction materials to build and test innovative aerodynamics design prototypes. This practice has also worked as a catalyst to develop greener engines to improve fuel efficiencies, while meeting the industry standards set by the aviation authority certification.

With a long history in providing the aerospace and defense industry with 3D software, Dassault Systems leads the realm of complex aircraft equipment and parts designing through a wide range of product lifecycle management, advanced 3D modeling and simulation software solutions. Dassault equips engineers, designers, and experts with its innovative technology solution—3DEXPERIENCE platform— to integrate and predict the performance of the aircrafts prior to production. “The 3DEXPERIENCE solution represents a very significant transformation for our clients, helping them shift from a file-based PLM to a model-based system,” says Bernard Charlès, VC and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. The solution aims at breaking the traditional barriers between teams, divisions, partners, suppliers, customers, and society in the aerospace and defense industry.

Driving Clean Aviation

The aviation industry has woken up to a set of newer challenges that demand aircraft designers to curb the air pollution levels by using renewable energy. With this quest, Dassault helped the renowned pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borshberg to fulfill their dream of flying around the world in a solar airplane— Solar Impulse 2—to promote cleaner technologies. Building a completely revolutionary aircraft wasn’t an easy victory for the Solar Impulse 2 team. It required them an entirely new design to build the fuselage and wings, while using new materials to achieve weight objectives. Additionally the team also wanted to provide safety, comfort and command accessibility for a pilot on an “around-the-world flight” through sophisticated design and management tools to design a cockpit.

The duo teamed up with Dassault in 2006 for a hasslefree execution of the ongoing development process and milestones.
The engineers built and certified Solar Impulse 2 using Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE applications to “confidently embark on its global trek”. In 2015, the brainchild of Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borshberg, a new single-seat aircraft—Solar Impulse 2—took off for the first-ever solar flight, setting an example to the world. “The Solar Impulse project is showing the world that alternative, clean energy can be safe and viable in the most extreme circumstances and that it has the power to change the world,” says Charlès.

A Step into the Future Factory

Shorter development time, aggressive production targets, lower costs, and demand for quality outcomes keep the aircraft manufacturers on their toes. Dassault’s Build to Operate Industry Solution supported by 3DEXPERIENCE platform helps aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and large suppliers to accelerate their production activities and increase manufacturing capacity, without having to compromise with quality or schedule. The company aims to enhance quality, accelerate production, and reduce program cost by tightly integrating engineering with its change management process and by applying lean processes like just-in-time processing and paperless manufacturing. Build to Operate solution helps clients to gain instant visibility on all levels of productivity such as plant, line, station, cell and individual. It is critical for continuous improvement of existing production lines and to accelerate the ramp-up of new lines to reach optimal rate.

The Solar Impulse project is showing the world that alternative, clean energy can be safe and viable in the most extreme circumstances and that it has the power to change the world

Dassault’s Build to Operate helps Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) gain control and visibility over all the facets of manufacturing across their supply chain globally with digital precision. Fostering a digital environment helps manufacturers to make last minute decisions about a component as it offers agility. Keeping this in mind, Dassault supports “The Future Factory of today” to deliver digital continuity planning to the shop floor. In a nutshell, Dassault’s Build to Operate Solution provides greater visibility across various manufacturing production sites, mitigates risks, supports sustainable and lean manufacturing processes across global deployment, and collaborates engineering and manufacturing change management. It rapidly implements corrective actions by providing insight into the disposition of quality issues.

Delivering the Experience

With many customers becoming tech-savvy, organizations are expected to create compelling and personalized customer experiences. Keeping pace with this trend, Dassault provides clients with Passenger Experience, an industry solution.
“It helps engineering, sales, and marketing teams to use visual assets and deliver custom or personalized cabin interiors by automating engineering, manufacturing and certification processes,” says Charlès. Passenger Experience allows clients to stand out from the crowd by creating compelling customer buying process, leveraging high-end visualization. It increases customer alignment and intimacy throughout the cabin completion process. Dassault’s clients can impress their customers by delivering personalized marketing experience and building attractive, dynamic content and campaigns targeting specific companies and individuals through visual assets.

Through Passenger Experience solution, Dassault aims at accelerating sales and lowering the number of engineering modifications for better management of customer expectations from cabin and product configuration through to virtual cabin validation. The company also provides different forms of training and visualization content—courseware, interactive game-based training and fully immersive 3D visualization—to increase training efficiency and minimize time out of the field of cabin crews and aircraft on the ground.

A Fresh Approach to Digital Mock-up (DMU)

Dassault has been acting as the technology bedrock for some of the leading aerospace and defense companies for nearly 30 years, assisting them to incorporate complex technologies and mitigate risks. A leading aircraft manufacturer, Airbus collaborated with Dassault to design and develop its new wide body aircraft, the A350 XWB. Airbus had to meet aggressive production ramp up target and customer commitments by ensuring quality and consistency across internal and external stakeholders globally. Deploying Dassualt’s 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, Airbus leveraged advanced applications to design, simulate, and manufacture its aircraft on a single platform. The solution provided a unique digital mock-up for suppliers and employees to collaborate in real time. Dassault enabled Airbus to collaborate on the accurate and up-to-date product information across the value chain, which in turn enabled them to decrease the number of engineering changes and achieve high level of first flight maturity while meeting the program target of the A350 XWB.

Additionally, Dassault also enables aerospace and defense companies to carry out the front end business activities through its industry solution, ‘Winning Program’. This program allows firms to define new offers, win new business and execute the requisite system engineering choices and related trade studies. Based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Dassualt’s Engineered Fly solution enables small and medium suppliers gain profits. The solution supports organizations to reduce the time spent on tactical proposal management through enhanced business execution. It captures overall knowledge on proposal process to foster repeatability and reusability. To help organizations meet product delivery date, Dassault provides ‘Co-Design to Target Industry Solution Experience’ to enhance program execution to meet cost, schedule and performance targets. This solution also helps large and small suppliers to build greener, lighter, stronger, cheaper airframe with optimized value streams. Being a pioneer in 3D vision, Dassault will continue to help aerospace and defense companies introduce groundbreaking aircrafts in the coming years as well.

Dassault Systemes

Waltham, MA

Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman & CEO

Provides virtual universes for designing and testing various parts of the airplane