Centre for Modelling & Simulation to develop digital twins for GKN Aerospace additive, composite, and industry 4.0 technologies
The new £32 million GTC will act as a hub for world class innovative technology for the next generation of fuel-efficient aircraft. The 10,000 square foot facility is expected to open in 2020 and will host 300 highly skilled engineers and include collaborative space for research and development with universities, the UK’s Catapult network, and GKN Aerospace’s UK supply chain. (Image source: GKN Aerospace)
 

Centre for Modelling & Simulation to develop digital twins for GKN Aerospace additive, composite, and industry 4.0 technologies

CFMS is the latest of a dozen companies specializing in simulation and additive manufacturing to claim a seat at GKN’s new Global Technology Centre in Bristol, UK.
The Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) will collaborate with GKN Aerospace to advance aircraft manufacturing technologies. The partnership will focus specifically on the modelling and simulation of design, engineering, and manufacturing processes in GKN Aerospace’s newly-announced Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol, UK.

CFMS, an independent, not-for-profit digital engineering company, will also support the development of digital twins – digital replicas of physical products, processes, or services to help reduce time inefficiencies and the high costs associated with traditional physical prototypes. The simulation data from these digital twins can then be used to inform additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), advanced composites, assembly, and industry 4.0 processes at GTC in order to enable the high rate production of aircraft structures.



The Bristol GTC facility joins a growing list of GKN Aerospace Centers of Technical Excellence around the world. Each center has a unique technology focus: additive manufacturing, thermoplastics, and smart aero-engine systems. (Image source: GKN Aerospace)


“We are delighted to be partnering with such a renowned global aerospace company to help co-develop new technologies that will advance aircraft manufacturing and the aviation industry as a whole,” says Ian Risk, chief technology officer at Bristol-based CFMS. “Our memorandum of understanding with GKN Aerospace delivers on our strategy to form meaningful alliances with industry that will explore new ways of working and bolster our vision to transform design, engineering, and manufacturing through advanced digital services.”


Digitalization in design and development

According to CFMS, the focus to reduce productivity gaps and improve responsiveness to both market and consumer demands in the digital era have been driven by the availability and cost of computational power, which have converged to create an environment in which digital technologies can thrive. While these environments had previously been used to optimize product design, today the target is the through-life digital architecture through which those designs can be realized faster and at a lower cost.

SAE International Technical Paper: Challenges of Digital Twin in High Value Manufacturing

A digital model-based approach – using a digital twin – employed at the start of the development cycle can be used challenge and validate requirements far more rigorously. By doing this, significant amounts of time and cost are saved prior to undertaking a detailed design. Iterative loops are reduced, and the areas requiring detailed analysis can be carefully targeted, ultimately minimizing the need for physical testing.



CFMS simulation involing a digital twin of an aircraft landing gear (Image source: CFMS)


“CFMS has significant experience and a proven track record in modelling and simulation for the aerospace industry, so we are looking forward to collaborating with the team at the new GTC to help produce the next generation of fuel-efficient aircraft,” says Paul Perera, vice president of technology, at GKN Aerospace, commented. “By bringing together our resources, alongside a number of other academic and industry partners, we hope to continue broadening the UK’s already significant engineering expertise.”

CFMS provides a trusted, neutral digital test-bed that enables high value manufacturing organizations like GKN Aerospace to develop their own digital engineering capabilities. The company also enables the adoption and acceleration of new technologies for modelling and simulation that support industrial digitalization.


GKN Aerospace Global Technology Centre

The new £32 million GTC will act as a hub for world class innovative technology for the next generation of fuel-efficient aircraft. The 10,000 square foot facility is expected to open in 2020 and will host 300 highly skilled engineers and include collaborative space for research and development with universities, the UK’s Catapult network (which CFMS is partnered with), and GKN Aerospace’s UK supply chain.
 


The GTC will maintain GKN Aerospace’s position at the forefront of technology development for the next generation of energy efficient aircraft and will serve as a base for GKN Aerospace’s technology partnership in the Airbus SE’s “Wing of the Future” technology and additive manufacturing programs. 

Visit the SAE International Advanced Manufacturing Knowledge Hub for more.

The Bristol GTC facility joins a growing list of GKN Aerospace Centers of Technical Excellence around the world. Each center has a unique technology focus – covering additive manufacturing, thermoplastics, and smart aero-engine systems – and is supported and linked by a clear digital strategy.

In addition to GKN Aerospace, CFMS, and the Aerospace Technology Institute which contributed £15 million towards GTC development, collaboration partners at the GTC include Additive Industries B.V., ANSYS UK Limited, ATS Applied Tech Systems Limited, Digital Catapult, KUKA Industries UK Limited, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Materialise UK Limited, National Composites Centre, PXL Realm, Thales UK Limited, University of Bath, University of Bristol, and University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre


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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at william.kucinski@sae.org.
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