Aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft announced today two new milestones in the development project of its new model, the Dornier 328eco.
Together with engineering services provider Umlaut, part of Accenture, a 3D digitisation of the aircraft’s wing spar box was completed. This is one of the main structural elements of an aircraft, as it spans the entire wingspan and connects the wings to the fuselage. It also supports the engines.
In this regard, the company highlighted the innovation involved in the process. The D328eco is based on the Dornier 328, which completed its first flight in 1991. At that time, the prototype was designed on paper and with the help of limited 3D-based software called CADAM. In order to use the original design data and adapt it to the new aircraft’s purpose, the company had to digitise it.
Deutsche Aircraft chose Umlaut for its engineering and aerospace industry expertise. Together, they created a digital twin that provides an exact copy of the original aircraft design. In addition, it incorporates innovations in structural development from the last thirty years. According to the manufacturer, the data will also be used during the aircraft certification process.
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On the basis of the virtual model, HEGGEMANN AG optimised the manufacturing processes and produced the first prototype of the wing spar box. The company uses the digitised data to enable the industrialisation of the wing spar box. It has already manufactured and tested the first prototype, after completing a feasibility analysis. According to Detusche Aircraft, «this proves that the automated production of the D328eco is possible».
From the implementation of digital tools, it is possible to » save material and map production processes more easily and with consistent quality», said Gregory Seymour, development engineer aircraft construction at Deutsche Aircraft.
The next step is to digitise more components and prepare them as CAD/CAM models for design validation, production and, eventually, final certification of the aircraft. The goal, they say, is to «digitally represent the D328eco in its entirety». Umlaut will continue to support the transition to three-dimensional models, while HEGGEMANN AG will produce the wings and the landing gear.
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