Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-3241

Software to Enable Composite and Assembly Development Processes for Modern Airframes 2009-01-3241

All trends indicate that composite structures are becoming an increasingly large percentage of modern airframes. Because of this, airframes are becoming both more efficient and more complex. This is due in large part to the fact that composite aircraft assemblies have huge volumes of highly interdependent design information. Creating the initial designs and making subsequent changes to these complex aerostructures is both time-consuming and error-prone. In this article you will learn how a tightly integrated suite of software for aerostructure development greatly increases design and manufacturing efficiency of today's complex composite aircraft assemblies.
In the aftermath of the first intensive, large scale, commercial composite airframe programs, exemplified by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, many aircraft manufacturers are selecting carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) as the structural material of choice for the fuselage and/or wing of their next project. This is true for all types and sizes of commercial airplanes, including large, regional, business and general aviation aircraft. In this transitional period into a new age for the aerospace industry, lessons on composite engineering and manufacturing must be assimilated quickly to transform or adapt the overall development process to this new reality. The complexity of the multiple interactions between material choices, tooling selection, design methodology and manufacturing processes must be understood in order to devise the most robust and efficient approach.
In this article we describe how VISTAGY has been able to draw on more than 15 years of leadership in composite design, and its close association with the major actors of the global aerospace industry, to propose a global and flexible product development approach for composite airframe development.
The main ingredients of composite airframe development are reviewed in the context of a CAD integrated specialized environment including elements such as the overall fiber orientation strategy, design methodologies such as concurrent design and stress optimization and validation, design for the manufacturing process, design for assembly, and quality control procedures.


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