- Headquartered in Toulouse, France
- Global leader in aerospace, defense, and related services
- Customer focus, commercial know-how, technological leadership, and manufacturing efficiency
- Product line includes aircraft ranging from 107 to 525 seats
- For the development of its new wide body aircraft, the A350 XWB, Airbus needed a way to ensure quality and consistency across all internal and external stakeholders worldwide to meet challenging production ramp-up targets and customer commitments.
- Airbus uses Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE applications for design, simulation and manufacturing on a single platform, where employees and suppliers collaborate in real-time on a unique digital mockup.
- Collaborating on the most accurate and up-to-date product information across the value chain has enabled Airbus to significantly reduce engineering changes and in turn deliver an exceptional level of first flight maturity - keeping the A350 XWB program on target.
Airbus A350 Program Takes Off with 3DEXPERIENCE
As part of its “Future by Airbus” program, Airbus asked 20,000 people at airshows, events and online what they expect from air travel in 2050. The answers were not surprising: cheaper, greener, more sustainable, less stressful, quieter and more fun. In the past, it was enough to get passengers to where they wanted to go safely and on time. While this is still true today, airlines are now focusing on the passengers’ flight experience. With the A350 XWB (Xtra-Wide Body) – the newest member of the Airbus family of longrange jetliners – the airline manufacturer bets the passenger flight experience will be a positive one. With already 750 planes in the Airbus order books, customers apparently agree.
A technological prowess
The A350 XWB is designed with the customer experience in mind, from cabin ergonomics to the in-flight entertainment. The A350 XWB combines the latest advances in aerodynamic wing design with an intelligent airframe. Both the fuselage and wing structures are made of carbon-fiber – more than 50% of the entire jet. “The A350 XWB is the first plane to so extensively use this light-weight material, which greatly contributes to its fuel efficiency,” said Didier Evrard, executive vice president, head of A350 XWB program at Airbus. “Its advanced wing design makes the A350 XWB a quieter and more aerodynamically efficient aircraft. Flying will be a whole new experience.”
To achieve this goal, Airbus has deployed Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to drive a global collaborative solution throughout the value chain from engineering to manufacturing, integrating new improvements over previous programs.
We introduced harmony in our processes, methods and tools, saving precious time that we instead spent on innovation.
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Reaching an unprecedented level, collaboration is at theforefront of Airbus’ innovation strategy. “When we started the program,” Evrard said, “we really needed to develop methods and tools which were radically different from the A380, not only to ensure that all engineers involved in development worked on the same design platform, but also to have them communicate in a single environment.” On the A350 XWB program, up to 4,000 people were connected daily to the platform, with 85% of them coming from the supply chain.
Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform — which connected ENOVIA for product lifecycle management, CATIA for design, SIMULIA for nonlinear simulation, and DELMIA for manufacturing and operations — Airbus was able to get everyone working from the same data in realtime, greatly increasing efficiency across the board.
First flight and beyond
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has become the core and strategic enabler for Airbus on the A350 XWB program. The real moment of truth was the A350 XWB’s maiden flight on June 14, 2013. “All expectations converged on this date,” Evrard said. “Of all the challenges we faced along the way, this was the one everyone anticipated from the very first design sketch. This first flight was a success.” The A350 XWB team’s newest challenge is to accelerate production ramp-up, in collaboration with their supply chain, to meet Airbus’ delivery commitments. “With all the right people accessing a common DMU through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, communication is easy, decisions are made on the fly, and problems are solved faster,” Scotto affirmed.
“Making the A350 XWB possible presented tremendous technical, technological and organizational challenges due to the complexity of the program and the number of outsourced stakeholders,” Evrard said. “But with Dassault Systèmes’ solutions, we introduced harmony in our processes, methods and tools, and saved precious time that we spent, instead, on innovation. For my final program as director, I could not have hoped for a more thrilling challenge.”