ESI Group Integrates RTM Simulation In CATIA V5

Airbus and ESI Group announce their first collaboration in the field of virtual manufacturing. Based upon Airbus specifications, ESI Group has developed a simulation application in CATIA V5 for composite parts manufactured using the liquid composite molding processes.

Airbus is utilizing composite materials on a large scale in its new advanced aircraft programs. Using modern materials and processes decreases weight, which is the main objective in aeronautics. However, making thicker, larger, and more elaborate composite parts generates new technological challenges. With these new materials and processes it is no longer possible to rely only on traditional methods to design and manufacture these components. Due to the parts’ size, the traditional trial-and-error approach of tooling manufacturing would lead to unacceptable tooling cost as well as long development lead times and expensive material waste. Simulation-based design is seen as a way to address these challenges in an economical way.

Resin transfer molding (RTM) simulation has been used for more than 10 years by EADS, the major share holder of Airbus, for simulating the injection of parts with resin fibrous reinforcements. These last years, EADS CCR (Centre Commun de Recherches, Suresnes, France) and ESI Group have collaborated to adapt the capabilities of its PAM-RTM software to the emerging needs of new aircraft programs. PAM-RTM can be used to design and develop new tooling and processes for composite materials. It checks the mold design and the process parameters to make sure that the parts are injected correctly the first time.

PAM-RTM for CATIA V5 is the result of the first implementation of PAM-RTM capabilities in CATIA V5 during a two-year joint project with Airbus. The software takes full benefit of the seamless integration of simulation algorithms within CATIA V5 performed on the native geometry. This fully integrated application dramatically reduces the simulation cycle time allowing direct associativity between mold design and simulation results. It also allows the user to perform injection analysis directly on the CAD model, which ensures a consistent geometric dataflow in an iterative continuous improvement process, resulting in significant savings in time and costs.

In the past, such analysis could only be done in an external simulation environment, forcing the user to export the geometric data and leave the CAD environment. Since the simulation process has now been fully integrated using CAA V5 architecture and components, PAM-RTM for CATIA V5 presents a common user interface to the designer. Key advantages are no loss of information due to geometry conversion and transfer and the dynamic communication between design and simulation results.

“The PAM-RTM for PLM version we developed for Airbus, is the starting point of ESI Group’s collaboration with Airbus to bring virtual manufacturing within the PLM. Our objective is to support Airbus current increased use of composite materials through the delivery of physics based simulation tools, available within the Airbus PLM working environment,” says Vincent Chaillou, president product operations and chief operating officer of ESI Group.

“With this application, Airbus is introducing the numerical simulation of manufacturing liquid composite molding processes. It is seen as a major breakthrough that will help us to remain at the cutting edge of the technology in the composite material field,” adds Gilles Debril, composite project manager for Airbus Concurrent Engineering.

About ESI Group:
ESI Group is a world-leading supplier, and a pioneer of digital simulation software for prototyping and manufacturing processes that take into account the physics of materials. ESI Group has developed an extensive suite of coherent, industry oriented applications to realistically simulate a product’s behavior during testing, to fine-tune manufacturing processes in accordance with desired product performance, and evaluate the environment’s impact on product performance. ESI Group’s products, which have a proven track record in manufacturing and have been combined in multi-trade value chains, represent a unique collaborative and open virtual engineering solution known as the Virtual Try-Out Space (VTOS), enabling virtual prototypes to be improved in a continuous and collaborative manner. This integrated protocol allows all the company’s solutions to work with each other and with applications developed by independent software vendors. By significantly reducing costs and development lead times and enabling product/process synergies, VTOS solutions offer major competitive advantage by progressively eliminating the need for physical prototypes during product development. The company generated sales of $80 million in 2005, employs over 500 high-level specialists worldwide covering more than 30 countries. ESI Group is listed in Eurolist compartment C of Euronext Paris. Virtual Try-Out Space® and VTOS® are registered trademarks of ESI Group. All other products, names or companies are the brands or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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