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FRom Electric cabling plans to Simulation Help.

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Uplifting aircraft power systems

EU-funded researchers developed a novel one-step design-and-simulation tool for aircraft power systems. The software enables import of older paper wiring diagrams and promises to significantly improve design and maintenance.

Digital Economy

Computer-aided design (CAD) has become ubiquitous in most manufacturing fields within the last 20 years. The aircraft industry is among those who have benefited with significant cost reductions. Extension of CAD abilities for new designs along with the capability of importing paper plans from older designs would be a tremendous boon to manufacturers and those working in the maintenance sector. European researchers initiated the ‘From electric cabling plans to simulation help’ (FRESH) project to accomplish this ambitious task for the specific case of electrical distributions for aircraft power. Currently, CAD is used to generate wiring plans. The CAD files are then employed in the design and optimisation of the harness. This two-step process wastes time and effort. FRESH scientists developed recognition algorithms to convert paper wirings into CAD wiring diagram format, enabling the system to account for an entire fleet including older equipment. They then developed a module to translate CAD-format wiring diagrams into a universal language (PIVOT). This language was used to transfer wiring diagrams into automatic design of the electrical harness. The integrated FRESH system enabled one-step electrical wiring and harness design, including simulation of the physical behaviour of electrical harnesses for performance verification and optimisation. The system enables error-free conversion of wiring diagrams from paper to digital format, significant reduction in design time and increased efficiency of design, manufacturing and maintenance. Both large manufacturers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved with aircraft maintenance have expressed interest in the FRESH system. Commercial application has the potential to decrease costs while increasing airline safety, benefiting industry and consumers alike.

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