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Design Collaboration Takes Flight

IBM-Dassault PLM suite will let Russian aircraft maker share data with design partners and manage product information globally
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co.

Sukhoi expects to cut costs by using the IBM-Dassault suite to build new versions of its Russian Regional Jet.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. has signed a multimillion-dollar contract with IBM and Dassault Systèmes for a product-life-cycle-management suite it will use to build six new versions of the Russian Regional Jet. The decision makes Sukhoi the first Russian aircraft manufacturer to use IBM PLM Solutions developed by Dassault Systèmes.

The combined-tool collaborative PLM platform includes IBM PLM Solutions, as well as Dassault Systèmes' Catia for virtual 3-D product development and its Enovia and Smarteam for product-data and life-cycle management. The tools will enable all participating organizations, including Boeing Co. and airplane cabin products manufacturer B/E Aerospace Inc., to share data and manage product-related information across development sites globally.

Sukhoi expects demand for small, inexpensive, and reliable aircraft to rise during the next 15 years, and its goal is to create a more-competitive cost structure by undercutting the competition's manufacturing and production costs by as much as 15%. The PLM tool is likely to assist Sukhoi in meeting this goal by standardizing wing and engine components to reduce development and production costs and improve maintenance and training.

Combining Catia and Enovia lets companies make a digital mock-up electronically. A physical prototype at the design stage is no longer necessary. Users can digitally assemble the aircraft and run it through stress tests, generate data to create manufacturing tools, and build the final product with higher odds for success. "As an estimate, the cycle time to design, build, and ship the first product takes years," says Mike Burkett, research director for product-life-cycle management at AMR Research. "Digital mock-up allows companies to design and build the product electronically, saving between 30% and 50% of the time to market."