Original Date: 08/07/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interface Applications Design Tool
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (LMTAS) effectively integrates a suite of design tools to serve specific needs in their respective design environments. The company has selected the commercially-available solid modeling package Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interface Applications (CATIA) as the core design software. The LMTAS design process consists of conceptual, detail, and production design processes. The design software used in this process consists of the internally-developed Advanced Computer-Aided Design (ACAD) for conceptual design and CATIA for detailed design.
Because CATIA is the core design tool for LMTAS, it is used extensively to produce product designs, computerized mock-ups, tooling design, flat pattern layouts, tube and wire routings, and automated drawing generation, as well as performing numerous other design functions. It is used throughout the organization for preliminary and production design, NC programming, NC tool fabrication, and quality assurance. Advanced functions include parametric modeling, generating NC code from solid models, concurrent associativity, automatic meshing, exact solid models, transparent analysis, and feature-based modeling.
CATIA is well integrated into the LMTAS processes, on-line documents (e.g., Design Manual), Manufacturing Resource Planning, PDM, and the MRP systems. LMTAS has implemented STEP in the production environment and is utilizing the STEP Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data (e.g., solids geometric data) with its suppliers.
LMTAS has also developed proprietary modeling methods called Best Modeling Practices, to interact with CATIA in the natural language of designers called features. These methods enable a designer to capture semantic information about the design for analysis, modification, and downstream applications. The best modeling practices are complemented by proprietary methods known as relational design which relates the design constraints of a part or assembly to other design models.
Also, LMTAS has advanced CATIA functionality to capture non-geometric data on three dimensional designs on CATIA that is traditionally accounted on drawings. This capability allows the extended enterprise to share design data without the use of traditional drawings.
Although CATIA effectively serves the core design functions, LMTAS requires customized software to perform the database management tasks within this design environment. For this purpose, LMTAS created the Consolidated Product Data Base which consolidated the previously segregated CATIA databases used for planning, engineering, manufacturing, and tooling into one database that manages these functions. It also provides configuration management and release functionality. It is effectively used to manage the build-to package throughout the integrated product development (IPD) process.
In developing this capability, LMTAS has had high-level meetings with management of the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) vendor to discuss strategic directions and ensure that future software evolves into the proper functionality. Although LMTAS has constructed the missing links of commercially-available software and effectively integrated these to serve Lockheed needs, the company maintains that it is still more efficient for the commercial software developer to provide as much functionality as possible. Standards must also be enforced and incorporated early in the design to allow for multiorganizational use of product definition data in a format that facilitates data management.
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