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Modular multilevel cost Analysis Software for COmposite smarT fuselage

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MASCOT (Modular multilevel cost Analysis Software for COmposite smarT fuselage)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-09-30

Problem/issue being addressed.
The aim of this project is to develop an open source software (SW) to allow full cycle cost analysis for innovative composite manufacturing for fuselage barrels. The main issue to be addressed is to set up a cost estimation SW capable to be included in a more general optimization procedure that is aimed at designing the best composite fuselage. Three established cost estimation methods are implemented, and capabilities of linking with Computer Aided Design (CAD), Finite Element Method (FEM) analyses, Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) utilities are to be developed. The estimation involves production and assemblying steps. The estimation methods contain statistical features. Maintenance and repair costs are also included with the innovative linking of the SHM both as equipment (cost) and as prediction tool (impact, damage). The subcomponents of the fuselage to be cost-estimated are depicted in Figure 1.

Key improvements for society.
MASCOT can certainly contribute to Airframe ITD WP B-4.3.6 of the SHERLOC development activities. The project allows the inclusion of the manufacturing, maintenance and repair costs in the design phase, thus providing an economic comparison of different solutions during the design step.
The project also improves innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge. Embedded SHM apparatus and novel monitoring/predicting procedures are the frontier line of the aeronautics nowadays, but their influence on the final cost for the industries is still vague. The MASCOT SW under development provides an essential tool to measure such an influence and, hence, to boost the industries in investing in new technologies. MASCOT SW will help in benefitting the society from safer airplanes at lower cost:
1) better maintenance, thus, lower pollution production;
2) higher safety level with lower construction/maintenance costs, thus, lower ticket prices.

Overall objectives.
MASCOT is organized in 8 WPs. WP1 is project management.
Main objective of MASCOT is to implement the cost estimation procedure for the airplane fuselage in python (the main flowchart is depicted in Figure 2). Such a goal is fulfilled by accomplishing three sub-objectives: cost estimation by 1) Analogous method (WP3), by 2) Parametric method (WP4), and by 3) Bottom-Up (WP5).
In order to comply with the main objective, a preliminar multilevel structure as depicted in Figure 3 is set up. Each level is associated to a different type of component, being 0 for raw material, 1 for assembled component from raw materials, and upper levels for more complex assemblying parts. Figure 4 provides a a schematic sketch of the main structure of the SW and Figure 5 details the structure between Level 0 and Level 1 (similar links can be established at the upper levels).
Further objective of the project is to allow the MASCOT SW to interface with CAD and FEM products (WP6) in order to bypass the user input and to allow the inclusion (out of the scope of MASCOT) in an iterative optimization loop.
Final objective is to include the SHM equipment and procedures in the cost estimation. The SHM affects both the production cost and the maintenance/repair cost. Objective of MASCOT, with the aid of the tools provided by the TM (SHM diagnosis tools, probabilistic risk procedures and Dynamic Data Driven Application Systems), is to build such a novel and innovative link (WP7-8).
Work performed in the reporting period
WP1
Implementation Agreement (IA) and Consortium Agreement (CA), i.e. Deliverable 1.1 were signed (and uploaded in SyGMa) in December, 2019. The IA signature took longer than expected (2 months more) due to the unexpected negotiation between the Imperial College (Topic Manager TM) and Unife (Project Coordinator) on two clauses. The delay postponed all the successive activities.
Communication and dissemination activities have been hindered by Covid-19 outbreak. Most meetings so far have been replaced by web meeting (Google platform) and most of the scheduled dissemination activities (conference, fairs, workshops) were postponed. Logo, web page and Linkedin activity was set up and started in May 2020.
WP2
In this WP the MASCOT partners developed the main software architecture, by carrying out the following tasks:
- To detail, as much as possible, the data flow of the multilevel approach;
- To set up the main features of the connections with the historical databases and of the communication with CAD, FEM, Isight, SHM;
- To categorize the input and output variables;
- To provide the functional architecture and to implement the general structure of the SW.
The scheduled deliverable D2.1 was uploaded in SyGMa at the beginning of April 2020.
WP3
The Analogous Cost Estimation procedure was implemented and submitted (report D3 plus SW) at the beginning of September 2020. The following tasks were accomplished:
- Set up of the cost breakdown list;
- Identification and measurement of the cost drivers;
- Implementation of the module in Python along with the necessary GUis;
- Test of the SW (it is worthy to underline that no historica database was provided by the TM).
WP4
The WP was completed in the middle of October (half month after the first reporting period). The following tasks were focused and completed:
- Specification of the statistical confidence of the parameters;
- Development of the governing regression functions and of the final algorithm;
- Implementation of the algorithm in Phyton along with the necessary input GUI.
User manual (deliverable D4), SW and governing algorithm (Annex of D4) were sent to the TM in the middle of October and D4+Annex uploaded in SyGMa at the beginning of November.
WP5
The WP is still under progress.

Main results achieved in the reporting period
IA and CA completed and submitted (D1.1) in December 2019.
Main software architecture (and WP2) detailed in Deliverable D2.1: completed and approved by TM (email) at the beginning of April.
Analogous Cost Module (and WP3) detailed in Deliverable D3: completed and submitted at the beginning of September 2020.
Parametric Cost Module (and WP4) detailed in Deliverable D4: started in June 2020, completed and submitted in October 2020.
Progress beyond the state of the art and Expected results until the end of the project
A study of the literature and of the commercial market shows that there are many examples of software providing a cost estimation of aeronautic items. Most of them are specifically designed as cost models and they are not linked to other utilities such as SHM, FEM, CAD. Furthermore, their structure does not allow a versatile modularity.
The progress of MASCOT stands:
- in the way the software is conceived, that is, multilevel, open source, modular, communicating with CAD, FEM, SHM, Isight;
- in its novel integration with SHM.
In the first reporting period the progress in the software concept was partially accomplished (CAD, FEM, SHM, Isight communication under progress).

Potential impacts
The marketing of new technologies are often hampered by economic issues in the industries’ world. The SW under progress will be a power tool to foster industries to invest in the production of more advanced aeronautic fuselages. In fact, the SW will allow the investors to properly balance passengers’ safety, cost and profit. Furthermore, the inclusion of novel SHM equipment and prediction utilities will promote the launch of new hi-tech SMEs.