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Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 285–308 | Cite as

A digital thread approach to support manufacturing-influenced conceptual aircraft design

  • Dennis J. L. SiedlakEmail author
  • Olivia J. Pinon
  • Paul R. Schlais
  • Todd M. Schmidt
  • Dimitri N. Mavris
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper proposes and demonstrates the integration of manufacturing and production considerations with traditional aircraft design metrics to support affordability-based design. To enable the necessary multi-disciplinary trades, a digital thread approach is proposed that integrates detailed models and analyses. The digital thread refers to linking models from various disciplines through common inputs and data flows with the goal of speeding design time and enabling trades across traditionally isolated disciplines. When used within an overarching design process, the production cost, rate, and efficiencies of non-conventional designs in variable demand environments can be quantified and traded early in the design process. In particular, the methodology is demonstrated using a wingbox design problem such that aircraft performance considerations, production rate, manufacturing cost, and financial planning metrics can be traded within a parametric, visual trade-off environment. The environment, combined with a multi-objective optimization routine, facilitates effective affordability-based tradespace exploration during the early stages of the design of non-traditional aircraft (e.g., those utilizing composite structures) under demand variability. An F-86 Sabre redesigned wingbox using three separate manufacturing concepts is used as a proof-of-concept for this research.

Keywords

Design process Aerospace design Manufacturing Production Affordability Digital thread 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research is funded by Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T). In particular, the authors would like to thank Howard Appelman, Steven Wanthal, Keith Rupel, Adam Graunke, and Gabriel Burnett from The Boeing Company for their expertise and support.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis J. L. Siedlak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Olivia J. Pinon
    • 1
  • Paul R. Schlais
    • 1
  • Todd M. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Dimitri N. Mavris
    • 1
  1. 1.Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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