The Advanced Composites Repair Analysis Tool (ACRAT) has been under development for the USAF Advanced Composites Program Office under an Ogden ALC Design Engineering Program (DEP) Contractual Engineering Task (CET) Order. ACRAT is an integrated prototype software system consisting of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and public domain CAE simulation codes and customized databases. The objective has been to develop Beta versions of this computer aided composite repair design and assessment engineering tool following the provisions and procedures of the ASTM Standard E 1340-90 (Reference 1). The standard guide produces working models early in the development cycle, which allows users and developers to learn functional requirements and appropriate system design details by actually interacting with a series of prototypes. Two Beta versions, of a planned six Beta cycle development effort (three-year program), have been completed to-date. The proposed ACRAT solution will reduce the Air Force's dependence on airframe manufactures for engineering assistance, reduce component scrap rates, reduce aircraft down-time while repairs are being designed or because spare parts are not available, and reduce the manpower spent removing and reinstalling aircraft parts that could have been repaired on-aircraft.
ACRAT's software system design emphasis has been focused on standardized methods of electronic data modeling and exchange; a UNIX-less process management environment which insures geometric configuration management and material release control; integration of COTS and/or public domain software wherever possible to reduce the cost of development while maximizing system functionality and reducing future costs of ownership (upgrading/porting supportability); and a single user friendly graphical user interface (GUI) capable of supporting a wide range of perspective users (field technician or expert CAE/composites engineer).
Four (4) customized database schemas (M&P, Aircraft Design, Composite Repair, Component Test) were designed and sufficiently populated to evaluate each data model's ability to meet specific ACRAT system requirements. These prototype databases, coupled with the ACRAT Executive Control System (ECS) database, represent the foundation upon which the fully self contained ACRAT software system has been built.