Aviation rivals Dassault, Airbus collaborate on new 3D platform for additive manufacturing aircraft design

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 152 views 

Dassault Systèmes, a unit of Paris-based aviation giant Dassault Group, announced Thursday (June 9) that rival Airbus Group is extending its use of the company’s 3D platform to its additive manufacturing programs integrating design, simulation and production.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is an alternative to production processes such as milling, melting, casting and precision forging. Already adopted by the aerospace industry for creative product design and prototyping, the use of additive manufacturing is gradually extending to large-scale production.

Airbus Group will deploy Dassault’s collaborative design and simulation applications as part of its “Co-Design to Target” industry solution experience, for the additive manufacturing of tooling, prototyping and parts for test flights and for production use on commercial aircraft.

This provides Airbus Group with digital continuity to optimize its conceptual designs by virtually validating each phase of the additive manufacturing process. Airbus officials said by leveraging Dassault’s applications and its own leadership and engineering expertise in additive manufacturing, it can explore greater design and manufacturing possibilities to meet engineering and manufacturing requirements for the additive manufacturing of tools and parts.

“Numerous projects across Airbus are accelerating the use of additive manufacturing to produce prototypes as well as production components potentially delivering lighter and less expensive parts that meet technological, performance, safety and cost standards,” said Robert Nardini, Airbus’ senior vice president of engineering airframe. “Airbus has long used Dassault Systèmes’ simulation applications to accelerate the structural analysis and virtual testing of aircraft and now we can define a new way of designing parts by leveraging simulation-based design to better answer aviation market needs.”

The “Co-Design to Target” industry solution experience leverages applications for additive manufacturing to offer high flexibility in part design, production and testing. This helps reduce waste and costs associated with the manufacturing of complex aircraft parts, without sacrificing strength or performance.

“Additive manufacturing creates new opportunities in many different areas such as remote fabrication for support and maintenance, rapid prototyping for realizing new concepts and experiences and, perhaps most importantly, developing designs that were heretofore impossible to fabricate,” said Dominique Florack, senior executive vice president of research & development for Dassault Systèmes. “With this approach, Airbus Group will be able to take advantage of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s next generation automated design assistant for parts, whether they are 3D printed or not, thus accelerating a new wave of transformation in the aerospace industry.”

According to company officials, Dassault Aviation engineers were able to shave off several hundred pounds from the internal wing structure of the new 8x flagship luxury jet using the French aircraft designer’s advanced 3D technology. After the 8x is designed and built in France, the ultra-long business jets are flown to Dassault’s Little Rock multi-million dollar completion center where they are outfitted with everything from luxury upholstery and other cabinet trimmings to broadband and world-class sound systems.