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Technical collaboration offers new route to aerospace simulation

25 June 2013

Simulation processes within the aerospace sector can be time-consuming and costly. Usually involving the manufacture of prototypes, these can then be subject to several modifications and rebuilds, adding to the overall intricacy of the simulation procedure.

Aerospace Simulations at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (photo courtesy of MTC)
Aerospace Simulations at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (photo courtesy of MTC)

Now, a new collaboration between the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry and Stratford based electronics specialists Assembled Electronics Solutions (AES) is promising to revolutionise the way simulations are carried out, significantly speeding up the process and saving clients from spiralling costs.

With AES’ expertise in electronics for simulations, clients within the aerospace supply chain can now see and test equipment virtually, completely bypassing the physical prototyping stage.

Using MTC’s high-tech facilities in Coventry, AES is able to model simulations ranging from controllers, processing board and data monitoring equipment to black box technology and telemetry. In this way, users can try the product before it is manufactured, making it easier, quicker and much more cost-effective to implement changes.

Moreover, setting up these virtual simulations usually takes less than two weeks, marking a stark contrast to the preparations required for many simulations carried out in the traditional way, with some of them taking months to set up due to their complexity.

Only once the simulation completely matches the client’s expectations, will the product be built and produced by AES in the required quantities.

Being a member of the Coventry and Warwickshire aerospace forum and having previously supplied to a global base of aerospace clients, the equipment manufactured by the Stratford firm so far includes ground testing units for A320 and A330 Airbus, components for pilotless aircraft such as ignition system components, electronic circuit boards and control systems for engines as well as calibrated cables and assemblies for aircraft.

The move into the simulation sector now marks the next step in the company’s aerospace activities.

According to AES’ managing director Nigel Maris, the novelty of the collaboration between his company and the MTC is reflected in the disparity between their sizes. “It is unusual for SMEs like us to have access to facilities as expensive and high-tech as MTC’s,” he says.

“It is more common for these facilities to be built for larger corporate partners.” Mr Maris believes that through this technical partnership, his company is able to offer a more sophisticated service to its clients.

“Most companies would model products in 3D Cad at the most and then go for physical trials,” he continues. “We, on the other hand, can invite the clients to the MTC where they can play around with a virtual model to see what needs changing and only once they are happy with it, do we actually build it.”

Apart from modelling and manufacturing the equipment, AES also runs its own in-house design centre. Offering all aspects of the product creation from the design through to simulation and fitting the electronics right to the end manufacture, the company is providing a convenient one-stop shop for its clients.

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