Assystem takes-off with Version 6
Assystem deploys Dassault Systèmes’ Version 6 to bring transnational engineering teams together on the Amphibian Ultra Light Aircraft project that highlights the Group’s exciting sustainable innovation ambitions.
International engineering consultancy Assystem employs more than 9,000 people to service the Energy, Aerospace, Automotive and Life Science industries. The company handles the innovative Amphibian project that uses CATIA Version 6 solutions to link engineers geographically dispersed throughout the world.
Weighing only 245 kilos empty or 495 fully loaded, Amphibian is classed as an Ultra Light Aircraft so it does not need full aircraft certification. However, it does have a range of 1,200 km, a cruising speed of 220 km/h and is capable of land and water take-offs and landings.
Dan Clark, Head of Aerospace Programmes at Assystem UK, says: “Assystem is a company with innovation at its core. We provide our customers with solutions to keep them at the forefront of their industry sectors. We see that cloud-based PLM solutions offer productivity benefits and ways forward for our clients. Some of our customers are already using Version 6 and others are planning to use it. We need to be as fully cognizant of Version 6 as possible. In order to explore its features and functions we operate a number of internal non-commercial projects, including Amphibian, that enable our engineers, many of them young, to use the software in new and often experimental ways. This also showcases innovation at Assystem.”
“The benefit of working with Version 6 in this context is that we have time and freedom to delve into the options that this new technology has to offer,” Clark continues. “In this case, it enables teams located in the UK, France and Germany to increase creativity. Working this way has had a direct impact on our activity in terms of experience, skills and innovation development, team building and in many other areas.”
“Working with Version 6 has had a direct impact on our activity in terms of experience, skills and innovation development, team building and in many other areas.”
Head of Aerospace Programmes, Assystem UK
The Amphibian project demonstrates Assystem’s engineering capability across the entire concept-todelivery cycle. With Version 6 there is no duplication of data and effort among the three locations. The productivity gains this generates alone justify its adoption. Sharing ideas becomes second nature, changes are transmitted instantly and downtime disappears. The software also reduces data transfer bandwidth requirements producing very rapid response times. “These factors combine to enhance innovation within a highly structured PLM framework. All information is available to the entire project team and workflow control is so efficient that productivity increases hand in hand with inventiveness,” Clark says.
Tata Technologies, a Dassault Systèmes business partner, was a key player in introducing Version 6 at Assystem. The company works closely with the Amphibian team to ensure maximum benefit. Tata was also on hand to offer technical support at the Paris Air Show when the Amphibian Project was publicly unveiled.
Amphibian will be made of carbon fiber, kevlar and titanium. Combining these materials presents new engineering challenges which were well met using Version 6. Variable pitch wings are incorporated into the design, along with a hydrodynamic ski that helps it take-off on water. “Our design teams are working together using the Version 6 platform to develop the ski and at the same time to eliminate the classic stepped hull common to many seaplanes. The step is necessary to provide the right conditions for take-off but is very inefficient in terms of drag once the plane is airborne,” Clark says.
The innovative V-shaped tail reduces both mass and drag, giving the craft further aerodynamic performance advantages. Amphibian will also be equipped with a host of advanced navigational aids. A proximity sensor is being specially developed to help pilots make water landings. Mass and center of gravity will be automatically monitored before take-off, and take-off distance will be evaluated using atmospheric data.
As a technology demonstrator at Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France, Amphibian proved to be a great success, attracting visitor and media interest. The project tests innovative technologies and cross-border working practices, as well as supports knowledge transfer between seasoned and newly graduated engineers. The project draws on Assystem’s design and development, system integration, testing and validation skills, as well as project and supply chain management. Underpinning the venture with Version 6 has been a great success and will have repercussions for future projects at Assystem.
“After 12 months, the project has delivered some outstanding results, both in terms of Amphibian itself and the engineering and management structures that surround it. Testing and validating systems and working and management practices secured within the Version 6 framework have given us thorough insight into how we can develop new ways to improve operations. It is important to combine experience and enthusiasm within a structure that encourages, records and sustains innovative working practices,” Clark explains.
Assystem is working on other innovative projects including the prototype hybrid City Car, i-Planet – a smartphone-operated domestic energy control unit – IndEHo (Independent Energy Home) for high yield heat and energy, and the Concentrated Photovoltaic Cells project which draws on the sun’s solar spectrum to concentrate its energy onto a multi-junction cell. These projects demonstrate solutions that showcase Assystems’ capacity for generating, organizing and driving innovation forward. Because the Group enjoys an extensive range of skills throughout different countries, major research programs like these bring cross-border team players on board and build and mobilize a network of experts for the benefit of Assystem’s customers.