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Digital Design and Product Life Management

Digital design, which controls production of the Falcon 7X, is based on 3D modelling of all aircraft parts. This virtual representation was made possible thanks to the CATIA design software developed by Dassault Systèmes. With CATIA, the physical mockup is replaced by a digital mockup.

First used for the Rafale and Falcon 2000, The digital mockup presents a complete 3D definition of the aircraft and the management of each individual part. It is the sole reference for the product within the company.

Today this digital design method is used across the globe in the aerospace, automobile, ship-building and other industries. The development of the Falcon 7X program pushed the envelope of digital design by using a set of innovative software tools: Product Lifecycle Management.

An aircraft is made up of 100,000 parts, as well as 25km of cable, 300,000 fasteners and thousands of updates during the series production run. Engineers must be able to take account of all of these data simultaneously in order to work “in context”.
PLM tools can be used to create a configuration management database. Thanks to configuration management of the digital mockup, participants have access to a single repository of all the required data.
This arrangement also allows engineers to simultaneously work on phases that were previously sequenced in chronological order: design, tooling up, production, completion and sales, support and maintenance. This ability to anticipate makes it possible to manage the entire lifecycle of the product.

The digital mockup can be viewed in 3D and in large format at the Virtual Reality Center installed in the design bureau at the company’s Saint-Cloud facilities. This enables all participants to position themselves at a point in the aircraft at all times.

With PLM tools, the entire production process becomes digital. All of the complexity inherent in an industrial project is incorporated into the digital mockup. There are no drawings, no physical mockups, and no prototypes. The digital company becomes reality.