Siemens PLM Software enables new aviation industry benchmark
Israel Aerospace Industries
G150 went from concept to certification in just in 2.5 years; 17 percent cycle-time reduction saves millions and accelerates return on investment
Raising the bar for business jets
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is globally recognized as a leader in the development of both military and commercial aerospace technology. Its reputation is the result of nearly a half-century of designing, engineering and manufacturing for the Israel Ministry of Defense and customers throughout the world.
Because the aviation industry is changing rapidly, the smartest companies are relying on innovation to a greater and greater extent. IAI is no exception. The company recently raised the bar in the business jet category with its innovative redesign of an older, mid-size Gulfstream business jet.
The new version, the Gulfstream G150, has quickly become the best-selling jet in its class, featuring advanced avionics, updated engines and a longer, wider cabin with more head and legroom than any competing aircraft in the mid-size category. The Gulfstream G150 is also the fastest mid-sized business aircraft in the world today. It started breaking speed records even before it went into service when a G150 test aircraft established a city-pair speed record on a flight from Tel Aviv to Geneva.
Money and time saved in faster development
The market success of G150 parallels the success of its development. The project went from concept to certification in just two and a half years – a record for IAI. In addition, the G150 received certification from both CAII and the FAA 10 weeks earlier than planned. IAI credits product lifecycle management (PLM) technology from Siemens PLM Software for the speedy development, as well as with the cost savings it experienced due to the shorter development cycle.
“Typically for such a program, which was a major upgrade to an existing product, it takes three to three-and-a-half years to do it,” says Svi Schtayman, deputy general manager, engineering, at IAI. “Using PLM saved us five months,maybe six months. This is a lot of money saved for the company.”
Digital mockups eliminate errors
IAI designed the new jet using NX™ software, the digital product development system from Siemens. One of the benefits of NX was that working digitally allowed time for multiple design iterations – an important factor in the G150’s improvements over the old model, according to Schtayman. He notes, “We were able to make more iterations at the beginning of the process when there were still only a few people working on the program. We didn’t have to spend a lot of money to come to the right configuration because we could switch things around very quickly.”
Another benefit was the ability to simulate the performance of the jet on screen. For example, one of IAI goals for the G150 was to minimize its maintenance requirements (as a way of lowering the owner’s total costs). “We were able simulate the accessibility and maintainability of the various systems of the aircraft using the initial designs,” Schtayman explains. The company achieved its goal to the point that “this aircraft is always flying, it’s never on the ground,” Schtayman notes. “It’s so reliable.”
The use of NX allowed IAI to create a digital mockup of the jet, which resulted in huge time and cost-saving benefits later in the program. “Since everything was modeled, there was no room for improvisation,” says Schtayman. “So, when it was time to build, everything came together on the assembly line like we were just playing Lego.” Schtayman notes that confidence such as this supports future innovation at IAI, explaining: “If you know that you can save time on assembly, you can give this time to the engineers to come up with a better product.”
To facilitate collaboration among the extended development team, IAI relied on the Teamcenter® software platform, another part of the end-to-end PLM solution from Siemens. One of the most important time-saving advantages of the PLM technology was that IAI could do more of the design work in parallel, rather than sequentially as had been done the past.
“The old or traditional way of design involved piling up the paperwork and then finishing it, and this took months and months and months,” says Schtayman. “The practice with the G150 was to work in parallel. Engineers, production engineers, manufacturers, and all of the supply chain actually were brought together. It was an integrated product team method.”
By establishing a single source of data for the G150, Teamcenter enabled easy information access to all who needed it. “Teamcenter actually allowed those outside the design community to see the product during its evolution,” Schtayman says. “With Teamcenter, you can bring together more people and more skills, and again, save time at the end of the process.”
Early access to design data and 3D models also allowed training to take place long before the jet was manufactured. “All of the training documentation was pulled from the same Teamcenter database,” Schtayman says. This enabled immediate development of the manuals, crew training and simulator-based pilot training. The cockpit was actually built from the NX digital mockup. Schtayman notes, “So when the aircraft entered into service, the infrastructure was already there to support it.”
The success of IAI’s G150 program was the result of access to the right data at the right time to make the right decisions – with speed and accuracy. The launch of the G150 has enabled IAI to raise the bar in the industry for speed, performance and comfort. With the seamless integration of people, knowledge and data by Siemens PLM Software, IAI has delivered one of the finest business jets in the industry.