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DIgitalization of ground-testing Life cycle with ECO design criteria

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DILECO (DIgitalization of ground-testing Life cycle with ECO design criteria)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-10-31

DILECO will contribute to the huge effort to maintain leadership in aviation industry while trying to adapt to new trends related to sustainability in global markets, by means of an eco-efficient production and digitalization of the factory.
Many processes in the Ground System Tests (GST) Station of the Final Assembly Line (FAL) of an aircraft, present a relatively low grade of automatization, with a lot of room for improvement when it comes to digitalization and product PLM integration. The introduction of some of the aforementioned technologies in the modern FAL can definitely impact the factory’s lean manufacturing and the environmental sustainability of the whole process. Implantation of new assembly procedures can take advantage of commercially available technology, but also actual methods and procedures like the moving assembly line, visual control systems, point-of-use staging, just-in-time delivery systems, etc. can be significantly improved.
The General Objective of this proposal is the Development and deployment of PLM Tools for A/C Ground Functional testing with Eco-design criteria in order to improve the sustainability of the FAL and the efficiency of the Ground System Tests process end to end. All the works will be done on site, in close contact with the Topic Manager, with as many revision cycles as possible before a final release.
The work performed linked to the ECO-Efficient Assembly Processes was:
• Technical and functional requirements were formulated by the TM to incorporate the energy and environmental impact in the iDMU, to give more complete information of the manufacturing processes.
• A new manufacturing data model was defined with the technical and functional requirements of the TM, extending the current manufacturing model of the Topic Manager with sustainable parameters, ecoefficient key performance indicators and strategic and operational dashboards.
• The proposal of a first version of the sustainable manufacturing model integrated in the PLM tools of the TM has been developed and tested.
• An ontological model to foster system semantic interoperability within the DILECO framework has been developed.
• A synchronous communication model has been developed and some new requirements for the model have been added as part of the DILECO system, mainly associated to the PPR structure.
• New requirements specified by the TM, which extend the previous ones, were defined, developed and are being tested to obtain a final version of the manufacturing model using PLM tools that allow the validation of the energy efficiency of the process planning for the DILECO project.
• All the requirements of the final model have been tested interacting with the LCA external application in a synchronous way.

The work performed for the Digitalization of ground system test process end to end was:
• Improved management of Requirements in the Topic Manager’s PLM tools
• Expanded the capabilities for Ground Test Requirements (GTRs) management in the productive process and PLM tools
• Expanded the capabilities for Ground Test Instructions (GTIs) management in the PLM tools
• Implemented a new method for Delta calculations (differences between Requirements and Industrialization) and incorporated it in the Topic Manager’s PLM tools
• Improved graphical interface for troubleshooting, and also for GTR/GTI management and operations over Deltas.
• Commissioning of the solution in the FAL environment.
• Definition of an alternative method for Requirements management, prototyped for future implementation.
DILECO extends the IDMU concept to a new SIDMU (Sustainable Industrial Digital Mockup Unit) concept. The sustainable model is integrated in the PPR structure and defined by the user through the DELMIA 3D interface. All the interaction with the DILECO system is done through DELMIA, so that the user can work with the system in an easy way. The system connects synchronously to an external LCA application in order to obtain the values of the eco-efficient KPIs of the process.
The model developed and integrated in CATIA 3D environment will allow computing the eco-efficient impact of a new product or process. Therefore, DILECO must become a reference simulation framework as a test laboratory where Topic Manager will evaluate and analyze Eco-efficient indicators. This test laboratory has the ability to analyze and evaluate the assembly process evolution including the process and resources change into assembly or manufacturing.

Sustainability and eco-efficiency have been researched in multiple scientific papers since the last years. However the literature is not so abundant when applying those concepts to industrial assembly processes. This Activity presents an innovate methodology to optimize aerospace assembly processes. It is proposed the introduction of a new element, the eco-efficiency, along with the traditional criteria, cost and time, currently used for optimization. Using a large Aero-Structure as an industrial case of study, the methodology analyzes
the eco-efficiency of an assembly process in connection with a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to compute the environmental impact. Results are shown in a dashboard along with the relevant Key Process Indicator (KPI) to help the engineers to select the best assembly process.

The main conclusion of this research and the main results after the application can be resumed as:
• In this research the eco-efficiency analysis is proposed at the conceptual level, in a top-down approach, but the solution was also validated in performing detailed analysis in a bottom-up approach, gathering information at tasks level.
• The proposed framework solution and the methodology have been demonstrated in an industrial case study for a large aero-structure assembly process. Company organization should be aligned and software tools consolidated before including eco-efficiency as an additional criteria for selecting aerospace processes.
• The results in eco-points as a single measurement to ease the decision-making has become useful for process engineer although their first input was why not using CO2 equivalent. This observation should be taking into consideration in the next development.
• It is necessary to make visible to process engineers that the assumptions taken when introducing data have direct impact in results. If design is at conceptual level with low detail, the impact can only be used as a first approach.
• Although still in early tests of the solution, an extrapolation of results from the assembly of a product to other similar one for a new development can be of a high interest for industrial companies.

Activity 2 has consisted in the improvement of the Topic Manager’s PLM tools, enhancing its capabilities to manage Requirements and their related GTRs and GTIs. Also, bringing Delta calculation to the forefront of the tool functionality Is an important step forward in quality and effectiveness of the Ground Testing work.

All in all, Activity 2 will positively impact the production process, improving the automation of Ground Tests which will in turn reduce test times and, therefore, cut down costs.

Also, the eco-friendly dimension of the Project is also present in Activity 2, as the new automations performed reduce the necessity of working with printed documents, resulting in an improved and more complete Digitalization process in the FAL.
DILECO Technology