GKN Aerospace optimizes CSeries winglet with FiberSIM and SyncroFIT

  • 16-Aug-2010 05:04 EDT

Shown is an example of an aircraft winglet assembly designed with Vistagy’s SyncroFIT software operating within a CAD modeling session.

GKN Aerospace has announced plans to use SyncroFIT airframe and large aerostructure design and manufacturing software in conjunction with FiberSIM composites engineering software, both components of the Vistagy AeroSuite, to manage the evolving product development process and deliver an optimized winglet for Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft program. GKN Aerospace also plans to make use of Vistagy’s professional services, including process consulting, best practices development, and customized training.

GKN Aerospace has used FiberSIM for more than eight years to design a variety of highly complex composite parts, including the winglets on the Boeing 767, the leading edge for the Airbus A380 wings, and the wing spars for the Airbus A400M. The adoption of SyncroFIT for the CSeries winglet extends the ongoing partnership between the companies.

Based on processes developed in conjunction with Vistagy on the Boeing 767 winglet, GKN Aerospace has used FiberSIM to migrate from a ply-based to a structure-based design approach that helps the company react quickly to the inevitable design changes that occur during structural optimization of composite parts. Engineers will now use SyncroFIT to define fasteners early on to provide procurement with precise and up-to-date bills of materials, while dramatically compressing the fastener management process. GKN Aerospace will also use SyncroFIT to manage the interactions of composite details within assemblies so that its engineers can validate that fastener design rules have been met and that the ripple effect of changes during skin thickness updates are propagated throughout the assembly.

“Defining holes and fasteners is a critical issue for developing composite aircraft because the variation in skin thickness drives the need for a wide array of fasteners and adds complexity to the design,” said Justin Elliott, GKN Aerospace’s Chief Engineer on the CSeries aircraft winglet program. “SyncroFIT unravels this complexity by enabling us to easily author and capture complete digital representations of airframe assemblies and share critical design and manufacturing detail more efficiently. Vistagy’s software and services will enable us to take an integrated approach to design and airframe assembly that will help us meet our goals.”

“GKN Aerospace’s implementation of SyncroFIT for the CSeries aircraft winglet program in conjunction with its longstanding use of FiberSIM provides further proof that, in the digital age, it’s essential to couple composite design with best practices for managing joints, fasteners, and holes to optimize innovative airframe assemblies,” said Steve Peck, Director of Product and Market Strategy for Aerostructures at Vistagy.

In February, GKN Aerospace received the contract from Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, valued at more than $100 million to design and manufacture the winglet for the new Bombardier CSeries aircraft, aimed at the 100- to 149-seat market. The contract runs till 2025, with first winglet deliveries taking place in early 2011 to support aircraft entry into service in 2013.

Composite winglets are key to achieving specific goals for reduced fuel burn and lower emissions. Winglets reduce wing drag to bring block fuel savings for aircraft operators of at least 6%—with subsequent reductions in aircraft emissions and improvements in payload and range.

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