TraceParts has been used since 2005 in France’s Airbus plants and by most of their suppliers as part of the tooling design process for the production of Airbuses (including the A380, the A400M, and the future A350 XWB). The word “tooling” here spans a wide range of applications, from the machining of basic parts (see our 3Dmodel below) to final assembly infrastructures via press tools, moulds, etc….
Machining tools for a basic part
The tooling, designed with CATIA V5, is made mainly with standard components, including clamping parts that hold the workpiece (in white), or are under the part.
These components are imported in native Catia V5 format from the TraceParts library, accessible to more than 250 users within Airbus France.
Airbus and its partners use CATIA V5 to design the tooling.
Laurent SENOT is a Dassault Data Services consultant who works with Airbus on CAD applications and methodologies related to the production and more specifically the design of the tooling. He has this to say about the awareness of the need for libraries and components and the choice of TraceParts:
“The tooling is made up of a large number of standard parts bought from supplier catalogues: fastenings, clamping and handling parts, bushings, cylinders, etc. Just a few years ago each site or sub-contractor modelled parts it need needed with a specific name and level of detail. This was followed by a lot of time-wasting with no added value, and the spawning of multiple versions of the same part throughout the extended enterprise and a redundant number of references that was not helpful for a rational approach to tooling.”
“We set out to find a common database implementation and benchmarked two European suppliers. Airbus France, Spain and UK selected TraceParts for its functionalities, its content and its ability to adapt its solution to their specific requirements.”
Airbus asked TraceParts to customize its software and this led to a close collaboration focusing on a number of imperatives and requirements:
- the availability of a content spanning the supplier catalogues currently used by the production sites. TraceParts met this requirement, with some help from Airbus, as and when required. Some components and suppliers not approved or referenced by Airbus have been deleted from its library, and component-related data has also been customized;
- the availability of the library on specific servers located at Toulouse, plus a client application on each user workstation. Sub-contractors today have a copy of the library on physical media and a copy of the same client application;
- the insertion process has been accele¬rated by the ability to call the application from CATIA and comply with the aircraft maker’s CAD rules (name, entity type, position in the assembly tree, etc.) and the links with the existing PDM tools.
This integration has been facilitated by the fact that TraceParts was the first (and remains the only) library developer to have the status of CAA V5 Software Partner awarded by Dassault Systèmes. This was also an influential factor in the choice of the solution.
After the success of the first wave implementations, a new version is currently in a deployment phase. Laurent SENOT confirmed its importance:
“It integrates notable developments such as the automatic replacement of instanced parts by other components and the ability for Airbus to build its own parts into the library”.
This phase also corresponds to the deployment of the solution in British and Spanish production sites.
For further information:
Airbus website: http://www.airbus.com
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