Integrated multidisciplinary engineering solutions at Fokker Aerostructures

As a tier 1 supplier, Fokker Aerostructures needs to be able to quickly respond to market demands from aircraft integrators such as Airbus and Dassault Aviation. To distinguish itself in the current competitive market environment, Fokker needs to be able to rapidly respond to new product opportunities and apply innovative technologies in the offered solutions. The aim is to reduce development lead time and improve design quality. The latter means developing more lightweight designs that can be manufactured at lower cost. To achieve this, design automation and optimization techniques are being developed to perform detail design studies, incorporating more requirements to a higher level of detail. These studies form the basis for simplified decision making models that can allow short operational design lead times and multidisciplinary design optimization. Robust design techniques must be applied to account for uncertainties in requirements and design inputs. Fokker currently conducts two research projects that address the challenges above: - Tapas 2, where new thermoplastic manufacturing technologies and the design methods associated with these technologies are developed. - Rudder in a Month, which aims to reduce the development lead time of an aircraft rudder to a single month. This paper presents the initial results of both research projects focusing on the collaborative engineering approach in both projects. In Tapas 2 an integrated design process is developed focusing on the initial development phases. This integrated design process is an extension of the Design and Engineering Engine philosophy developed at TU Delft applied in an industrial setting. By developing this process the potential advantages of the new thermoplastic manufacturing methods can be quantified. The Rudder in a Month project investigates performing major parts of product development before the actual proposal phase. This should result in low development lead times once a product program is started. This approach, also called ‘front loading’ of the design, starts by defining high level standard solutions for aircraft components such as a rudder. These standards are generated through Knowledge Based Engineering applications and by performing design space exploration studies. With this development approach, disciplinary experts will be more involved in defining standards upfront. The standard solutions should enable quick selection of design concepts and enable Multidisciplinary Design Optimization.