EADS Innovation Work implements IBM solutions

To identify the most optimal approach to component design and accelerates its entire development lifecycle

Published on 23 Aug 2015

The IBM solution enables us to differentiate ourselves in the market in number of ways; it’s an agile solution, which means that as customer requirements change, we can show the impact of those changes very quickly, we have increased our quality whilst reducing the time to market for our products.

Vice President, Technical Capabilty center, Engineering, IT, Physics, Security Services & Simulation

EADS Innovation Work

Aerospace & Defense

Deployment country


Founded in 2000, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V. (EADS) is an international aerospace, defense and military contractor that provides related services to customers around the world. EADS Innovation Works - which functions as the research and development department of the organization - is responsible for identifying new technologies that create value and guarantee technical innovation potential

Business need
To develop safe, high-quality aircraft, manufacturers such as the European Aeronautics Defense and Space N.V. (EADS) must ensure that all individual components not only function to the best of their abilities, but also interact harmoniously with all the other parts and systems aboard the aircraft. In the past, EADS relied on its business units - Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium and Cassidian - to develop optimized designs for individual components, taking into account how their architecture might affect factors such as overall reliability, weight, fuel consumption and production costs. Previously, the business units designed individual components and systems on the basis of past experience, using design and analysis tools that were not connected. At the onset of the design phase for each component, each business unit would choose one architectural hypothesis, assuming that it would align with all of its outlined criteria. This hypothesis would also assume the component’s seamless interaction with the mechanical, electronic and software engineering of other components and systems on the aircraft. Unfortunately, when the design criteria were not met, the business units would need to modify the architecture - a process that was, at best, time-consuming and costly. At worst, modifications were impossible. In the aircraft manufacturing industry, it is not unheard of for component redesigns in the development cycle to delay product delivery by several years, increase development costs by billions of dollars and even prohibit the official certification of the aircraft. Further, performing the impact analysis of a single modification to a component took EADS Innovation Works up to several weeks to complete. Thus, to reduce costs and accelerate its development lifecycle while increasing the quality and safety of its aircraft, EADS Innovation Works began looking for a collaborative solution that would unify the design efforts of its business units. The department envisioned a solution that would enable the organization to evaluate multiple architectural hypotheses at once and pinpoint the best course for product design early in the development cycle.

Designing high-quality aircraft components that work seamlessly together can be an intricate puzzle. By using a First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) architecture optimization solution, this aircraft manufacturer can quickly solve the puzzle on the first try. The new solution captures and integrates component design criteria from its multiple business units and presents a holistic view of the data across mechanical, electrical and software engineering domains. By using the solution to analyze component dependencies across domains and run what-if scenarios with an array of architectural hypotheses, engineers can pinpoint optimal component designs early in the development lifecycle. And because the manufacturer gets its component designs right the first time, it can avoid costly modifications and production delays. Realizing that it would need a FOAK solution to address its needs, EADS Innovation Works tapped IBM Research to help it build an Architecture Optimization Workbench based on IBM Rational and IBM ILOG software. Combining concise modeling functionality with an optimization engine and process management capabilities, the new solution is designed to enable EADS Innovation Works to: - Build a concise system model through different views, including design alternatives, constraints and criteria goals - Query data from external databases - Automatically generate and solve optimization models for component and system architectures At the heart of the new solution is IBM Rational Rhapsody Design Manager software, which helps business units within the organization collaborate on component modeling by presenting a holistic view of design criteria for different components across mechanical, electronic and software engineering domains. The solution captures the design criteria and component rules from internal databases maintained by the business units as well as from an external data source maintained by a third-party software vendor that contributes custom applications to the company’s systems. Using IBM ILOG CPLEX Optimization Studio software, EADS Innovation Works can evaluate component dependencies across domains, run simulations using different architectural hypotheses and explore what-if scenarios to quickly reveal the soundest approach to component design. Users access the solution through an intuitive GUI that also enables engineers from different business units to comment on potential component and system architectures and fully collaborate on the design process.

Accelerated the development lifecycle while elevating the overall quality and safety of finished aircraft; Avoided exorbitant redevelopment costs and production delays by eliminating the need to modify components later in the development lifecycle; Facilitated a highly efficient design that will meet criteria requirements for safety and efficiency while reducing cabling weight by 5 percent


IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Rational Rhapsody Design Manager

IBM Research, , IBM Analytics - Internet of Things

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