CTMA Project Announcement: Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for Aircraft Sustainment

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for Aircraft Sustainment and Support to Develop a Function Teamcenter 3D Configuration Manufacturing Environment at the Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East Cherry Point – Phase IV


Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – Configuration Management of the F/A 18 Teamcenter/NX 3D Software Aircraft and Component 3D Models atFleet Readiness Center Southwest San Diego – Phase IV

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for Aircraft Sustainment with Teamcenter 3D at Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Southeast Jacksonville – Phase IV

One of the FRC’s most significant issues is the management of aircraft engineering data. This data consists of 3D CAD data, 2D drawings, and associated information received from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The data is received piece-meal and the current processes used were developed to support the management of drawings and are not capable of managing this variety and quantity of data. Because of this, significant time is spent manually mining data by a dedicated group of logisticians and engineers.

Using the capabilities within Teamcenter, this data can be placed under full configuration control and will allow anyone to perform searches on and within the data. This environment will also be used to not just manage the data, but also provide the tools needed to manage the processes from engineering through planning to manufacturing. The adoption of configuration management with a strong PLM backbone can increase the collaboration among DoD locations and their suppliers resulting in a more streamlined process across the service lifecycle. This paradigm shift will greatly reduce the number and cost of errors which will ultimately improve the support for Fleet Readiness.

The project approach will be to build on the substantial work accomplished through the earlier NCMS PLM projects at NAVAIR Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs):

  • Phase I supported the sustainment technologies for aircraft depot maintenance configuration management of 3D design models for the F-18 structural Engineering Department at FRC Southwest.
  • Phase 2 allowed two additional FRC locations, namely FRC Southeast (Jacksonville, FL) and FRC East (Cherry Point, NC) to interact with the F/A-18 data within the 3MS process via the Teamcenter web-based thin-client.
  • Phase 3 applied the lessons learned from the PLM deployment at FRC Southwest. FRC Southwest had been developing a process and systems that would manage a subset of F/A-18 structural repairs and component reverse engineering data. This process and system was referred to as Manufacturing Model Management System or 3MS. This concept has been applied to the V-22 sustainment program at FRC East as the basis of their configuration management solution.

The Teamcenter solution to automate and configuration manage the 3MS process has provided a consolidated and secure environment for all the associated data required for manufacturing. Everything from the OEM revision drawing, the associated 3D Model and 2D drawing, the FEA analysis scan and reports, and even the manufacturing files required (STEP, JT, STL) were all configuration managed. Once the data was made available to Manufacturing, the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) programs were also stored in Teamcenter. All of this data can then be shared within the entire FRC framework with the confidence that the information has been validated.

Because the work performed at each of the FRCs varies and each location is at a different level of maturity, the approach has been divided into 3 sections, one for each FRC location.  Upon completion of the project the 3 FRC locations will share a common PLM backbone with similar functionality, tailored to their unique organizational configuration. The common backbone will enable the FRCs to share data, resources and manufacturing capabilities in an efficient configuration managed environment through the lifecycle of their products.

The Phase IV initiative will demonstrate at each of the FRC locations (FRC East Cherry Point, FRC Southeast Jacksonville and FRC Southwest San Diego):

  • Shop Floor Connect to end users (artisans and programmers) on how to use Teamcenter with Shop Floor Connect.
  • Individual workflows for each end user/role.
  • Automated, manual and batch process for Program, (V-22, F-18, etc.) data importing and data associativity.
  • How to define and develop a sustainable security model for future user groups and roles.
  • Full flow of work processing beginning with engineering and ending with completed work package to include dispatching the NC code to the CNC machine for a desired part.

Industry is challenged with PLM technology in developing assets for the DoD while supporting a large supplier base to manufacturing parts for DoD. This initiative will allow OEMs and DoD to work together on best solutions for integrating value added PLM solutions.

Having centralized data is not enough to gain the primary benefits from a PLM implementation. It is the adoption of NAVAIR’s validation process within a PLM system that encompasses all the critical steps in a configuration managed, workflow-driven environment. The validation process is essential in delivering verified 3D solid models and associative data that were required for parts to be manufactured. The data includes Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Reverse Engineering scan data, documents, reports, OEM 2D drawings, STEP, JT and 3D-PDF data. Teamcenter workflow management ensures that the right participants are accomplishing their tasks and signing off on their work within a configuration management controlled environment.