Mastering Complexity

"Heavy and costly are not viable from a business perspective."

Bruno Darboux vice president, Systems General Engineering for Airbus, and Pascal Gendre senior expert, Modeling and Simulation for Airbus, explain how the aerospace giant uses simulation to manage and integrate the increasingly complex, distributed smart systems that comprise the modern jet aircraft

Save PDF  

Dimensions: What is the biggest challenge in the aerospace industry, and how is Airbus approaching it?

Bruno Darboux: Over the past decade, systems for large air­craft have become more complex. They have transitioned from a loose coupling of systems to a more tightly coupled situation. In the past, systems were designed so that they did their own job with limited information exchange (loose coupling) with other systems. They were somewhat standalone systems. This is no longer true. Now all of the systems onboard our planes are increasingly interconnected. And they share a lot of com­mon resources — computing platforms and interface devices, for example — which makes everything tightly coupled and quite complicated. Not only are the resources shared, but the functionality is spread across several systems.

Pascal Gendre: In addition, how a system interfaces with the real world has advanced. At Airbus, we now measure more physical phenomena, such as icing, EMI/EMC, thermal environ­ments, material behavior and fluid–structure interaction, with more precision, and that helps interacting systems to optimize the overall flight experience. You can't fly an unstable airplane. But by using an advanced flight control system that interfaces extremely closely with the physical world, you can deliver opti­mum flight performances under safe conditions.

BD: This complexity has compelled us to put heavy and costly processes into place to develop a new airplane. But heavy and costly are not viable from a business perspective. So we have introduced — and are trying to introduce more — ways of mastering this complexity by means of advanced system engineering methods. We have already started to deploy model-based systems engineering for the successful development of the A350, and want to deploy even more for our next product developments.

Dimensions: You mentioned safety briefly. The management of embedded software to ensure its safety is obviously critical for airplanes. What processes does Airbus have in place to manage embedded software?

BD: Guaranteeing the safety of embedded software is well under control thanks to compliance to aerospace standards. This includes external standards such as DO-178C and SAE ARP 4754A, along with our own internal standards. However, there are cost and lead time challenges associated with adhering to these standards. Full demonstration of compliance is very costly, so we don't want to repeat the demonstrations 10 times, because the software evolves with each design iteration. We need fast iteration loops. And, as the design matures, we have to fine-tune our software, even during the very late stages of development, including the flight test stage.

"We have already started to deploy, and want to deploy even more, model-based systems engineering."

Various sections of Thai Airways International's first A380 jetliner were joined at the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France, in November 2011.
Dimensions: So you can make software changes even that late?

BD: Absolutely. This is where the value of simulation software really comes into play. Tools for modeling embedded software, such as ANSYS SCADE Suite and ANSYS SCADE Display, allow engineers and designers to express the design specifications in a formal manner. These tools generate the actual flight software in an automatic way from the models. Using this method, we can produce software with a significantly reduced certification cost as well as reduce the number of very expen­sive test demonstrations. Software modeling and simulation has reduced our software generation time from typically two months to as short as two days during flight tests. That is a great improvement and time-to-market advantage.

Dimensions: How does simulation fit into the development process?

PG: Considering subsystem design as a start, each design team models its own environment to address the specific questions it has to answer and to find the solution for optimal perfor­mance. In the integration stage of development, we need to combine extensive simulations in a single simulator called the "Iron Bird." This simulator must accommodate several separate systems with their different physics and ways of interacting.

Airbus at a Glance

→ Founded: 1967
→ Headquarters: Toulouse, France
→ Workforce worldwide: 58,000 (100 nationalities)
→ Reach: 8,340 Airbus aircraft currently in operation

Dimensions: Because an aircraft is made of many models, how do these separate models come together?

BD: It's obvious that each team needs not only its own model but also a representation of what's around it. For example, the hydraulic system team needs a good representation of the engine performance and nacelle environment on the power side, and of the landing gear extraction/retraction sequences on the consumer side. This has driven us to develop an approach through which we can share models and assemble them into a larger system. 

We then run end-to-end simulations, and, depend­ing on the results, we simply tune the control logic, or possibly iterate on the architectural design.

PG: Whether you want to check the kinematics of control sur­faces, study human factors in cockpit design, or design and calibrate an air conditioning or ventilation system, you need to use different modeling techniques, and you must simulate lots of different combinations of parameters.
The main point is to carry out much more of the integration work upfront using modeling and simulation during the tun­ing of the design, and reduce the number of test points dur­ing the final testing phase with the complete aircraft on the ground or in flight.

Dimensions: What is your vision of the best way to combine physical testing with modeling?

PG: We have experts who really understand how to interpret simulation results. Most of the physical testing with the real vehicle or mock-ups is aimed at double-checking that what the simulation delivers corresponds to reality. You can then use simulation to validate the aircraft behavior in the complete design and off-design envelope.

"Software modeling and simulation has reduced our software generation time from two months to two days during flight tests."

Dimensions: What other challenges are you experiencing?

BD: At Airbus, we have very diverse, competent teams in-house, but also we have a lot of collaboration with the engineering teams of our suppliers. While we are responsible for systems architecture and integration, we contract out 95 percent of our systems' detailed design and equipment manufacturing. Five percent we do in house, 95 percent we buy. The suppliers bring technologies, supply smart design solutions, and participate as part of the integration effort. So we must exchange models with our suppliers to help us accomplish more simulation upstream and perform fewer tests on the final product.

PG: To exchange models, we need to rely on strong standards. We already have exchange standards in place like Airbus AP2633, but we cannot yet say we have a truly superior set of standards to do the job in an optimum manner. We are work­ing on developing these standards, in an industry-wide effort; the MOSSEC initia­tive is an example. MOSSEC stands for modeling and simulation information in a collaborative systems engineering context.

Dimensions: What technological trends do you believe will play a big role in the aerospace industry in the next five or 10 years?

BD: Innovations are not so easy to predict. However, the fields for which we generate and capture innovations are the ones that add value to our airplane customers: superior passenger experience, continual improve­ment of airplane performance, and seamless fleet operations.
The trend in all this is clearly digitalization — making the most knowl­edgeable use of data to design the best solutions. Capturing the best data and routing it to provide the best real-time services to end users is also important.

2015 ambience A350 XWB engine

Whether you consider multiphysics optimization or the setup of distributed functionality across onboard and ground computing platforms, it is clear that modeling and simulation bring much to our business. They allow us to reduce our development cycle and costs, bringing innovation to the market much faster. And thanks to modeling and simulation capabilities, we continu­ally develop better products, like our new A320 Neo, which delivers an improvement of more than 15 percent in fuel efficiency.

Bruno Darboux has worked for Thales, ATR and Airbus. He was involved in numerous developments of civil and military platforms, in both engineering and program roles. He currently leads the definition of Airbus processes, methods and tools for systems development, and manages the teams that perform Airbus aircraft safety and qualification demonstrations.
After earning a Ph.D. in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for aerospace, Pascal Gendre worked for Lacroix and Airbus. He employed modeling and simulation to develop products before devoting his efforts to developing modeling and simulation processes. He currently manages R&T projects for the modeling and simulation required for all engineering aspects of the aircraft program at Airbus.
A380 cockpit

"Thanks to modeling and simulation capabilities, we continually develop better products."

1970년에 설립된 ANSYS는 3,000명에 가까운 전문가를 고용하고 있으며, 이들 중 다수는 유한요소분석, 전산유체역학, 전자, 반도체, 임베디드 소프트웨어, 설계 최적화 등의 분야에서 석/박사 학위를 취득한 유능한 엔지니어들입니다. ANSYS의 우수한 직원들은 고객이 설계 콘셉트를 더 낮은 비용으로 더 신속하게 성공적이고 혁신적인 제품으로 탄생시킬 수 있도록 세계적 수준의 시뮬레이션 기술 한계를 극복하기 위해 열정적으로 노력하고 있습니다. ANSYS가 Bloomberg Businessweek, FORTUNE 등 권위 있는 출판물에서 세계적으로 가장 혁신적인 기업 중 하나로 인정받았다는 사실은 ANSYS가 이러한 목표 달성에 성공했다는 척도가 됩니다 


보다 자세한 내용은, ANSYS 회사 브로슈어를 참조하시기 바랍니다. 

엔지니어링 시뮬레이션이라는 단일 분야에 주력해온 ANSYS는 45년 이상 동안 끊임없이 진화하는 고객 요구 사항을 충족할 수 있도록 시뮬레이션 기술을 발전시켜 왔습니다.
ANSYS는 제품 설계가 실제 환경에서 작동하는 방식을 예측하는 데 사용되는 엔지니어링 시뮬레이션 소프트웨어를 개발, 판매 및 지원합니다.  ANSYS는 다음과 같은 방식을 통해 시뮬레이션 솔루션을 지속적으로 개선하고 있습니다.

  • 최고의 기술 개발 또는 관련 업체 인수 
  • 복잡한 다중물리 솔루션을 지원하는 통합 시뮬레이션 플랫폼에 기술 통합
  • 고성능 컴퓨팅(HPC) 및 클라우드 솔루션을 비롯해 시뮬레이션 프로세스 및 데이터 관리를 위한 시스템 서비스 제공

FORTUNE 500대 기업의 상위 100개 기업 중 96개 기업을 비롯해, 전 세계에서 40,000여 고객이 ANSYS 솔루션을 사용하고 있습니다. ANSYS 고객은 우주항공, 자동차, 방위, 전자, 에너지, 재료 및 화학 처리, 터보 기계류, 소비재, 의료, 스포츠 등 광범위한 산업에 걸쳐 있습니다.

ANSYS 고객은 우주 탐험을 위한 새로운 로켓, 자율 주행 자동차, 첨단 체내삽입형 의료 장비 및 환자 맞춤형 치료 절차, 초음속 열차, 효율성이 뛰어난 풍력 터빈 및 태양 에너지 솔루션, 스마트폰 및 컴퓨터를 위한 초소형 전자제품, 사물 인터넷(IoT)을 구성하는 장치의 임베디드 소프트웨어 등을 설계하고 있습니다.

소규모 엔지니어 그룹이 근무하는 작은 사무실 하나에서 시작한 ANSYS는 이제 3개 대륙에 지사를 보유한 글로벌 기업으로 성장했습니다.

ANSYS 본사는 미국 펜실베이니아 주 피츠버그 남쪽의 캐넌즈버그에 있으며, 40여 개국의 채널 파트너 네트워크를 통해 전 세계적으로 75곳이 넘는 전략적 판매처를 보유하고 있습니다. ANSYS는 하나의 기업으로서 고객과 긴밀한 파트너십을 강화하고 현지에서 부가가치 서비스 및 지원을 제공합니다.

가까운 위치의 지사를 찾아보십시오.

ANSYS 솔루션은 고객이 프로토타입을 만들기 전에 새 제품의 작동 방식을 확인할 수 있도록 도와 고객의 시간과 비용을 절약해 드립니다. 무엇보다 고객은 시뮬레이션을 통해 제품이 실제 사용 환경에서 결함 없이 실행된다는 확신을 가질 수 있으며, 이러한 확신은 가치를 따질 수 없는 비즈니스 자산입니다. 이러한 프로세스를 시뮬레이션 중심 제품 개발이라고 합니다.

ANSYS 제품군은 전체 물리 분야를 포괄하므로 이들 솔루션을 통해 해결할 수 없는 제품 설계 문제는 존재하지 않습니다. ANSYS 소프트웨어는 효율적일 뿐만 아니라 혁신을 촉진합니다. 또한 물리적 제약 조건을 축소하거나 제거하여 다른 방식으로는 불가능한 시뮬레이션 테스트를 가능하게 만들며, 가정(what-if) 분석을 통해 엔지니어가 설계 대안을 즉시 탐색하여 최적의 솔루션을 찾을 수 있도록 지원합니다. ANSYS 소프트웨어를 사용하면 프로토타입 하나를 만드는 데 걸리던 시간 내에 수천 가지의 설계를 테스트할 수 있으므로 무한한 가능성이 펼쳐집니다. 하지만 이러한 탐색이 끝나면 시뮬레이션 중심 제품 개발을 통해 최상의 단일 솔루션을 얻게 됩니다.