Original Date: 04/01/1993
Revision Date: 01/19/2007
Information : CAD/CAM/CAE Unigraphics II
McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-West has successfully evolved from two-dimensional drawings to three-dimensional drawings over the last ten years for all design and analysis. Using the Unigraphics II CAD/CAM/CAE system, MDA-West migrated from two-dimensional drawings as the design goal to complete three- dimensional solid models. Creating three-dimensional solid models is now the company standard for design, and other functional areas such as manufacturing and logistics can obtain their required information. This effort has facilitated MDA-West's Concurrent Engineering (Integrated Product Development [IPD]) efforts since other engineering functional areas are brought into the product development process early.
In the early 1980s, the MDA-West drawing creation process was sequential. A functional area did not receive a two-dimensional drawing from design until it was completed. Each area would receive the drawing for check and approval. This process was time consuming because of the multiple iterations needed to obtain drawing approval by all functional areas. The CAD system was seen as an impressive drafting tool that at best reduced the time of the iteration process. Parallel check and review between functional areas was non-existent. Even though the Unigraphics system at the time had other capabilities, it was not fully utilized because many engineers were not trained in those capabilities.
MDA then created strategic plans for use and support of the Unigraphics system as a total tool for design creation, design analysis, manufacturing planning, and communication between functions. Unigraphics was seen as a tool to facilitate company wide Concurrent Engineering/IPD. A Unigraphics advisory team was created to guide the integration of the Unigraphics tool with the Concurrent Engineering (IPD) strategic plan. The rapid development of computer hardware technology eased the integration of the CAD/CAM system with the strategic plan. In-house training programs were started for Unigraphics and focused on instructing the engineer how to use the specific Unigraphics modules required to complete the job.
MDA-West currently uses Unigraphics three-dimensional, solid or wireframe, models as the baseline for all engineering. Model data is digitally communicated with other areas. Two-dimensional drawings are created from the three-dimensional model as needed. This transition phase will continue until all engineering functional areas use three dimensions.
Parallelism is accomplished through the use of Unigraphics as a tool for all functions to be directly involved with the model creation from early in the design process. Sequential hand-off of drawings for signature release has been minimized with sign-offs often occurring in parallel.
The attempt to marry the Unigraphics CAD/CAM/CAE tool with the Concurrent Engineering (IPD) thrust at MDA-West has proven to be successful, and MDA has determined several important lessons from this effort including that the management buy-in to change needs to be quicker; the engineering design time increased but the overall project cycle time decreased; there is still a need to drive down Unigraphics capabilities to suppliers; and there is a need to improve electronic communication links between functional areas. The Unigraphics tool has been tremendously effective in achieving the Concurrent Engineering (IPD) success seen today at MDA-West. Great time savings have occurred due to early feedback on design issues across disciplines, parallel interaction between teams, and improved access to design information.
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