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Building a virtual integrated aircraft using an optimised modeling process

07 March 2017

Russian aircraft manufacturer IRKUT Corporation (IRKUT) aims at conquering the worldwide aircraft market by launching the MS-21, a series of three twin-engine short-and mid-range airliners with a capacity of 150 to 212 passengers. The MS-21 is designed to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

The MS-21

Under the MS-21 development project, in 2010, IRKUT started using LMS Imagine. Lab Amesim TM software from Siemens PLM Software. Without any prototype available at that time, IRKUT’s standard approach did not allow design engineers to answer questions as to how these systems would interact, or how they would behave in case of abnormal situations. Implemented at the detailed design phase of the project when main system parameters had already been chosen, LMS Amesim is currently used for the hydraulic, environmental control, electrical, fuel and anti-icing systems, as well as for engine modelling. 

Anton Poplavisky, deputy chief of the Engineering and Simulation department at IRKUT, said that LMS Amesim allows IRKUT to easily build system models by using standard library components, or by creating its own components, and then analyse the system’s behaviour.

Unlike other simulation tools, LMS Amesim does not require in-depth knowledge of how to implement and code physical laws and formulas. Standard validated and maintained libraries offered in LMS Amesim enable engineers to work with several systems. It meant IRKUT could reduce time spent in building complex models by a factor of five.

In the MS-21, a lot of hydraulic equipment is located in the pylon and hence close to the engine. While the bottom part of the pylon is exposed to the hot flow from the engine nozzle, the blower cools down its external part. Despite a lack of similar experience, IRKUT managed to simulate the temperature inside the pylon by using LMS Amesim.

Creating a virtual integrated aircraft

IRKUT launched a project aimed at modeling the MS-21’s thermal behaviour while taking into account boundary conditions for engine, anti-icing, hydraulic, fuel and electrical systems. 

Supported by the LMS TM Engineering services team, this project has become the first step in applying the Virtual Integrated Aircraft (VIA) concept, which supports the earlier assessment of systems interaction to predict their behaviour once integrated into the aircraft. 

LMS Imagine. Lab Sysdm software and LMS Imagine. Lab system Synthesis software have complemented LMS Amesim already in use. LMS Sysdm has increased productivity in the simulation process at IRKUT and has reinforced collaboration among its departments and suppliers by bringing an efficient solution for system model and architecture management according to the structure defined jointly by IRKUT and the LMS Engineering team. 

The software in action

LMS System Synthesis has enabled a systematic approach for getting an appropriate modeling baseline for each of IRKUT’s design considerations. Providing an environment to automate the assembly of the complex modeling diagrams, it has also secured the cross-dependencies between systems by ensuring each stakeholder of the modeling activities always has an up-to-date reference dataset properly configured for his work. Each of the design choices can therefore be executed in a controlled process leaving room for innovation in each department. 

Yury Logvin, Deputy Director, Design Engineering Centre, IRKUT Corporation noted that modeling with LMS Imagine. Lab enabled IRKUT to minimise the number of errors discovered during the verification phase and obtain an optimal design within the shortest timeline. It was able to modify and test virtually any parameter without mobilising considerable financial and human resources, which test would require. IRKUT aims at achieving a 90 percent simulation accuracy level.

Summing up and looking forward

IRKUT’s goal is to produce a competitive airplane, and Siemens PLM Software offers tools covering most of the needs to do this. The company recently found a solution to a technical issue with ailerons: the test department had been trying to resolve it for three months whereas with LMS Imagine. Lab it took only a day and a half to model ailerons’ behaviour under the air flow. 

In addition to LMS Engineering and the LMS Imagine. Lab platform (including LMS Amesim, LMS Sysdm and LMS System Synthesis), IRKUT currently employs LMS Virtual. Lab tm software for the aerodynamics analysis and landing gear design. 

Other potential areas of collaboration between IRKUT and Siemens PLM Software have already been identified. Converting LMS Amesim plant models of a Virtual Iron Bird (VIB) could become the next technical challenge to be overcome at IRKUT.

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