IBM Cloud Elevates Aerospace Designer

Woodward Control Solutions is tapping high-performance computing resources over the Internet to boost productivity and efficiency.
An aircraft parts designer has boosted productivity 76% by doing away with physical prototypes and moving testing to a virtual environment hosted by IBM and its cloud partner Nimbis Services, according to IBM.

Woodward Control Solutions, of Fort Collins, Colo., tapped the IBM/Nimbis offering in order to run complex simulations of aircraft component designs on high-performance computing resources they could not economically justify as an internal purchase.

"In collaboration with Nimbis, IBM's Computing on Demand cloud centers allow businesses of all sizes and types across the country to tap into the power of supercomputing and use it to their competitive advantage," said Nimbis president and CEO Bob Graybill, in a statement.

"This in turn boosts the competitiveness of our country by providing our industries the analytics and insights they need to out-compete at a global level," said Graybill.

Nimbis essentially acts as a broker and clearing house for cloud-based high performance computing services. The company buys up bulk time on resources offered by IBM, Amazon, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and other providers, and resells them to end-user customers like Woodward.

By accessing IBM's cloud through Nimbis, Woodward is saving $275,000 per engineer, per year, by making them 76% more productive, according to IBM. It's also sped up manufacturing by 80% and reduced scrap waste by 50% as it moves away from physical prototyping.

Among other things, Woodward produces fuel nozzles for aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, now a unit of United Technologies.

Woodward's successful cloud experiment also helped it win a manufacturing yield improvement contract from the Defense Logistics Agency, which promotes design and process improvements through the Industrial Base Innovation Fund.

IBM and Nimbis plan to market their offering to other vendors in the U.S. defense supply chain, under conditions that comply with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which govern the import and export of defense-related products and services.

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