In this article, we’ll discuss the question “what is program development?” and all of the important details that are involved in program development.
Today, there are challenges facing aerospace development programs on almost every level imaginable. Teams in the aerospace and defense (A&D) industries still have trouble with upfront planning when they begin a new program.
What tasks are required? How much time will each task take? How many resources are needed? Poor program execution that results from a lack of understanding at the beginning of a program makes it nearly impossible to meet budgets and deadlines later in the process.
Resources frequently fall short of requirements, which appears to lack program discipline, especially when a new requirement or change in scope arises. The complexity skyrockets when software and electronic systems are included in the mix.
Although there are many internal and external challenges for A&D teams, it is also an exciting and innovative time. Get in touch with our team at CSMI for more information on how program development can help your business thrive.
The Challenges of Digitalization in the Aerospace Industry
Modern aerospace programs can rely on digitalization as their main advantage in the face of such complexity. Simply put, digitalization increases productivity by revealing how certain requirements affect later engineering and manufacturing processes.
This can be done by using a comprehensive digital twin and digital thread, which provide a thorough understanding of A&D products and procedures. Digital thread-based processes enable multidisciplinary processes and weave relevant data together to present a complete picture of the product, production, and process in a logical and useful manner.
Instead of avoiding complexity, aerospace teams and their tier-one suppliers should embrace it and use it as a distinctive competitive advantage.
Companies must move more quickly. They must reduce development costs in order to reduce production and operating costs. Successful businesses, in my experience, are those that can quickly evolve their business models and out-innovate the competition.
With digitization and digital threads, customers can face complexity head-on, allowing for greater productivity and innovation. A digital thread is a grouping of digitalized integrated solutions, software, and best practices that provide visibility, collaboration, automation, and traceability within a specific domain while also connecting to other digitized domains.
Based on industry requirements, there are seven areas where digital threads can assist in addressing this complexity and encompassing the entire product lifecycle:
Problems with program planning and execution lead to significant schedule delays and cost overruns, which have an effect on profits and a company’s capacity to make investments and win new contracts.
Long-term business success depends on consistently excellent program planning and execution, which enables organizations to stay within budget and meet deadlines.
Teams can plan projects based on systems using a digital thread for program management. To create a fully planned, resourced, and budgeted program management solution, it integrates cost, schedule, risk, and technical requirements.
It offers a unified approach and an integrated perspective for the entire company’s pursuit or program.
Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)
There is significantly more information that needs to be managed as complexity rises.
The document-based and disjointed systems and processes of the past are no longer able to handle this complexity, which results in a number of negative effects, including schedule delays, cost increases, and missed opportunities.
To automate processes and make the management of product and program data simpler, businesses are looking for model-based processes.
Even in the face of rising complexity, an MBSE digital thread can orchestrate the technical program and scope across the entire enterprise and lifecycle, providing the foundation for more rapid and effective product development.
Companies can lessen the impact and consequence of “issues” that have historically surfaced during system integration and evaluation by facilitating early analyses and simulations linked to requirements and functions.
By assisting businesses in the transition from early system modeling to creating the digital thread for the entire program lifecycle, MBSE improves the development process and positions A&D teams for future success.
Product Engineering and Design
Due to the need to design and develop new products more quickly and affordably, A&D companies are searching for new procedures for designing and building aircraft. Agile process development for product development is frequently sought after by businesses.
Additionally, in order to innovate, collaborate more quickly, and target niche markets, businesses must now rethink how they approach product design. Businesses must find ways to quickly implement new technologies in order to stay competitive – in weeks, not years – as new materials and technologies become available.
Agile engineering can be implemented within a company using a digital thread for product design and engineering. By tackling the most challenging design and engineering issues with the best electrical, mechanical, and performance engineering solutions, this digital thread encapsulates an integrated and open design ecosystem to speed up product development.
Furthermore, this digital thread has the potential to transform traditional engineering approaches by incorporating new materials (composites, additive manufacturing, and electronics) and advanced user experiences (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality).
The comprehensive digital twin provides multi-disciplinary design and optimization for electrical and electronics design, analysis and simulation, software management, and manufacturing simulation, in addition to 3D computer-aided design.
Certification and Verification
Product complexity is causing new regulatory requirements, which puts more of a burden on businesses to verify new products, raising costs and raising the possibility of schedule overruns.
Verification and certification expenses have risen steadily and now account for up to 75% of product development expenses, making it difficult to find the money for impulsive, discretionary purchases.
A digital thread for verification makes it possible to integrate certification into the overall process of developing a product. It gives A&D businesses a solid execution plan for certification and incorporates all necessary certification activities into the overall program plan.
Thanks to this digital thread, businesses can develop a cooperative relationship with the regulatory body. Businesses can more easily involve the authorities in the planning, execution, and auditing activities by providing them with dedicated access to the product lifecycle management system.
Supply Chain Cooperation
Globalization forces continue to have an impact on the supply chain, partners, and workforce. Supply chains are dispersed across the globe, making collaboration and effective supply chain management more difficult. Internal product team collaboration is also becoming more difficult as the workforce becomes more dispersed and more employees work remotely.
Document-based or siloed processes stymie collaboration and innovation, and product certifications become unaffordable due to inefficient and out-of-date processes.
Suppliers can be automated for better collaboration, and a digital thread for supplier collaboration can serve as a link between functional domains. It develops the thorough digital twin to link requirements to source selection and all contract deliverables as a model-based process throughout the product lifecycle.
For exchanging data throughout the supply chain, it enables data rights management and intellectual property protection from anywhere in the world.
Production and Manufacturing
Production environments must have the ability to share data insights from existing processes and transform this information into actionable information with a digital twin as businesses strive to optimize their production processes to increase quality and decrease cost.
Companies are looking for a better way to manage capital-intensive manufacturing processes and resources, ramp up production more quickly, and adopt new manufacturing concepts or technologies more quickly.
Production processes can be coordinated by a manufacturing digital thread, which can also provide pertinent production data to all areas of program development.
By including manufacturing feasibility analyses through simulation early in the design process using the production digital twin, it establishes the viability of product concepts.
It uses thorough manufacturing planning and virtual commissioning to confirm production readiness, and it quickly incorporates design changes to the factory floor to minimize rework.
Support and Maintenance
Unplanned maintenance is a significant source of operating expenses. Operational costs are also increased by planned maintenance. The final consumer is looking for predictive health monitoring and condition-based maintenance techniques that can minimize the financial and time impacts of planned and unforeseen maintenance.
Many businesses are using the “pay by usage” of products to provide predictability of operational costs. Due to this, more accurate and reliable methods of estimating operational costs are required in order for providers to turn a profit.
Manufacturers, owners, and service organizations may be able to support complex products in a service management environment with the help of a maintenance digital thread. The entire support system, including spare provisioning and service plans connected to the model-based configuration, can be planned using this digital twin.
Program Development to Gain a Competitive Advantage
Due to the complete traceability built into a digital thread, aerospace manufacturers and their supply chain partners can make more effective, better-informed decisions through digitalization. In addition to addressing increased program complexity, digital threads also address higher levels of integration.
As the cornerstone of a digitalization strategy, they support organic learning across the organization and/or across multiple programs and enable Program Execution Excellence for A&D companies in a closed-loop process.