Value Improvement through a Virtual Aeronautical Collaborative Enterprise
ACARE, the 'Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe', defined five major strategic goals that need to be achieved by 2020 to provide more affordable, cleaner, safer and more secure air travel:
- Cheaper and passenger friendly air travel;
- Reduction of atmospheric emissions;
- Reduction of Noise;
- Enhanced safety and Security;
- Increased capacity and efficiency of the Air Transport System.
VIVACE is a project set-up in the framework of AECMA (Association Européenne des Constructeurs de Matériel Aèrospatial) addressing aeronautics Vision 2020 objectives. The project is also a manifestation of the European Commission's desire to fund cutting-edge research in the Aeronautical sector as expressed in the STAR 21 ('Strategic Aerospace Review for the 21st Century') report.
VIVACE will significantly contribute to fulfilling three specific targets of the aeronautics industry Strategic Research Agenda:
- halve the time to market for new products with the help of advanced electronic analytical, design, manufacturing and maintenance process, methods & tools;
- increase the integration of the supply chain into the network;
- maintain a steady and continuous fall in travel charges through substantial cuts in operating costs.
The mission of the project is:
- to meet society’s needs for a more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly air transport;
- to win global leadership for European aeronautics, with a competitive supply chain, including small and medium size enterprises.
The objectives are to:
- contribute to 50% cost reduction in engine development;
- achieve a 5% cost reduction in aircraft development;
- contribute to 30% lead time reduction in engine development.
VIVACE will develop advanced capabilities (Knowledge Enabled Engineering, Multidisciplinary Design and Optimisation, Design to Decision Objectives, Engineering Data Management, Distributed Information Systems Infrastructure for Large Enterprise and Collaborative Hub for Heterogeneous Enterprises) applied on real case engineering and business scenarios from the aircraft and engine sectors.
The project was organised intothree technical subprojects:
- Virtual Aircraft. A specific global product work area that develops the different elements of the aircraft, and works around the products for design, modelling, interfacing and testing.
- Virtual Engine. A specific global product work area that develops the different engine modules of the aircraft propulsion system and key areas of multidisciplinary optimisation, knowledge management and collaborative enterprises.
- Advanced Capabilities. A key integrating work area that develops common tools, methodologies and guidelines to be shared amongst the developments in the previous two work areas and provides for further integration of these two.
Much of the development in these three areas will build upon the methods, tools and techniques explored and validated during a previous European Commission funded project ENHANCE (Enhanced Aeronautical Concurrent Engineering). The project will bring together 55 partners from industry, research institutes, universities and technology providers.
VIVACE will make its approach available to the aeronautics supply chain via existing networks, information, dissemination, training and technology transfer actions. The project will publicly disseminate its results through its website and by holding 3 annual forums, and by presenting its work at relevant conferences and Aeronautical gatherings such as trade shows, air shows, standards events, national and regional trade association meetings etc. The needs of third tier suppliers will be addressed by formally involving a representative group of these from the 18 month point onwards in the project - they will be expected to suggest customisation and then provide validation of the VIVACE outputs from their perspective.
The main result of VIVACE is an innovative Aeronautical Collaborative Design Environment and associated processes, models, and methods, which strongly reduces the development costs of new aircraft and engines. This virtual environment, which has been validated through real industrial use cases, supports the design of an aircraft and its engines by providing all the required functionalities and components for the design phases of the aeronautics product life cycle.
More specifically, the achievements of each technical sub-project (see the section 'Methodology') are as follows.
1) Virtual Aircraft Sub-Project
A first achievement has been the development of the Virtual Aircraft (VA) for systems that allows aeronautical collaborative enterprises to:
- simulate the integration, verification and validation of aircraft systems as early as possible;
- develop simulations efficiently and effectively which are fully integrated into the development process of aircraft systems;
- share and re-use simulation components in an extended enterprise context for cost-effective operations.
The main operational benefits are:
- reduced cycle time for complex simulations due to automation in the solution design;
- reduced set up costs due to re-using simulation components;
- increased simulation quality due to the systematic exploration of the complete solution range;
- reduced operation cost due to the sharing of simulation components.
Other achievements relate to the improvement of the design and development process of specific aircraft systems (however, all integrated in the VA):
- improvement of the hydraulic system design by using new or improved simulation models;
- improvement of electrical modelling methods and standardisation of electrical behaviour modelling for data coming from other systems;
- improvement of the Aircraft Data Communication Network (ADCN) design and validation by developing an ADCN performance model;
- replacement of tests for flaps carried out on the High Lift test bed with simulations.
2) Virtual Engine Sub-Project
The main achievements reached are:
- development of models and tools for the assessment of the virtual engine business environment and the impact that potential events could have on the model, as well as for understanding the behaviour of the aero engine value chain;
- development of a life cy
Recommendations for each technical sub-project (see the section 'Methodology') are as follows.
1) Virtual Aircraft Sub-Project
The simulations developed in the framework of VIVACE will deliver their full added value in terms of cost reduction if they can be shared in the extended enterprise to enable a seamless design flow. Therefore, further research should focus on a few conditions that must be met to enable the effective sharing of simulation capabilities:
T1: The first condition is that it is necessary a powerful indexing system to facilitate fast and accurate retrieval of the collected simulation integrated in a complete simulation life cycle.
T2: The second condition consists in transparent and performing connections between the different actors of a development chain including security, rights management, etc.
T3: The third condition is an unquestionable confidence in the provided simulations obtained through a rigorous verification, validation and accreditation process.
These conditions will lead to the creation of widely employed and recognised references for simulations to be used and shared by the entire supply chain to significantly improve the development process of aircraft systems.
1) Virtual Engine Sub-Project
Physical test provides a tangible reference to prove the design, however this is usually available only after having manufactured the component. This together with practical limitations of physical test exposes manufacturers to the risk of significant unplanned cost to remedy unexpected findings.
VIVACE has demonstrated the use of mechanical simulation to provide reference behaviour models against which other design models may be validated. VIVACE has also advanced physical testing strategy. These two provide complementary roles for design validation. However:
T4: it is necessary to go further in order to cover assemblies, sub-systems, systems and cross-discipline activities.
T5: validation of non-linear behaviour needs developments.
T6: it is recommendable to investigate how variability associated with manufacture, materials, service loads and assemblies influences the way the virtual reference is deployed.
T7: assumptions used in the virtual model need to be checked against the knowledge accrued through physical testing and in-service experience on similar components.
T8: physical testing needs to be focused and aligned to requirements for verifying the virtual validation