Airbus Flying High with PLM Solutions

Aircraft manufacturer taps PTC to support collaborative product development with customers, suppliers

Aircraft manufacturer taps PTC to support collaborative product development with customers, suppliers

Needham, MA — September 26, 2005 — The aircraft manufacturer Airbus said today it has extended the use of the Product Development Co.'s (PTC) Windchill solutions to collaborate with customers and its suppliers while developing order-specific variants of the A380 passenger and A380 freighter aircraft lines.

Airbus now for the first time is directly integrating customers into the Airbus Extended Enterprise using a Windchill-based digital mock-up (DMU) solution.

The customer involvement in the development process happens much earlier than previously possible, Airbus said. Engineers in Toulouse and at customer sites are managing mock-up reviews, which enable the customer to collaborate on the development and layout of individual aircraft right from the beginning of development. Airbus said the new capability will result in reduced manufacturing lead times and will help to ensure conformance to customer requirements.

Airbus' Extended Enterprise Program has also been broadened to include supplier collaboration. PTC has assembled a software bundle that will be offered to hundreds of global Airbus suppliers to help enable information exchange and design integration during product development activities.

The Windchill-based DMU allows designs to be reviewed, simulated and shared virtually across Europe in a realistic workspace. Inconsistencies can be detected early in the design phase, which reduces the costs and speeds up the process. Additionally, the ability to collaborate with customers using a realistic digital representation benefits customer satisfaction, Airbus said.

The DMU solution deployed by Airbus uses an integrated set of capabilities provided by several PTC products. Windchill is used as the product data management system to manage computer-aided design (CAD) models and drawings developed by a distributed product development team. The CAD environment includes a mix of PTC's CAD products and multiple versions of CAD products from other vendors.

Windchill also provides configuration management and controls the change and release processes so the DMU is under formal configuration control.

"Airbus has become the benchmark in innovative and collaborative aerospace engineering and manufacturing. PTC is proud to partner with them in their strategic use of our [product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions]," said Dick Harrison, president and CEO of PTC.

DMU is a key element of the Airbus Concurrent Engineering (ACE) initiative, which is a systematic approach to aircraft development, using best in class-in-class tools and methods in a virtual 3D environment. It has been used extensively for the A380 and A380 freighter programs, enabling thousands of engineers in the Airbus Extended Enterprise, spread across Europe and separated by different processes, systems and languages to concurrently develop, engineer and manufacture the world's largest civil aircraft in record time.