May 24 2004

Dassault Aviation and Dassault Systèmes Make Industry History -- Falcon 7X Jet Becomes First Aircraft Entirely Developed on Virtual Platform

Pioneering aircraft manufacturer cuts assembly time of high-end business jet by 50% with V5 PLM solutions from Dassault Systèmes



Paris, France – May 24, 2004 - Just one year after implementing a revolutionary virtual product development platform - the “Virtual Plateau” - based on Dassault Systèmes (Nasdaq: DASTY: Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solutions, Dassault Aviation has halved the time required to assemble its new Falcon 7X business jet.

The Falcon 7X becomes the first aircraft in industry history to be entirely developed in a virtual environment, from design to manufacturing to maintenance. The single, integrated PLM environment, based on Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA, ENOVIA, and DELMIA Solutions, enables Dassault Aviation and its 27 partners in seven countries to work on a common, collaborative, 3D virtual platform. In addition, SMARTEAM was used to manage and track airplane systems.

Every one of the jet’s 30,000 parts was designed with CATIA. Through ENOVIA, more than 1,000 engineers manage, exchange, and work in real-time on up-to-date designs, including interface data for partner-designed sections. With DELMIA and its human modeling modules, specialists analyze and optimize the design of the Falcon 7X for crucially important aircraft maintenance and repair procedures.

The dramatic gains in assembly time and part quality stem from the precision attainable on the virtual platform. The digital mockup of the Falcon 7X is so accurate that fittings, supports, and tubing developed virtually fit perfectly when the aircraft parts are assembled in the physical world. Not only has the need for traditional assembly tools dropped dramatically, but Dassault Aviation will also not produce a physical prototype of the Falcon 7X. The first jet, scheduled for delivery in March 2005, will immediately be used for certification.

“We made a big gamble when we said we were going with ENOVIA,” said Jean-Claude Hironde, deputy senior vice-president, Research, Design and Engineering, Dassault Aviation. “Initially, we had to convince our partners of the benefits of a virtual platform, of sharing data, and working in context. But today, with data updated overnight, as opposed to the former two-month modification cycle, there simply is no comparison.”

“The virtual platform has fundamentally changed the way we view building airplanes,” said Jacques Pellas, CIO, Dassault Aviation. “Adopting PLM means improving the circulation of information in a company, redefining its processes, and reorganizing company structures. We are just at the beginning of a new industrial revolution.”

“By becoming the first aerospace manufacturer to implement a “virtual plateau”, Dassault Aviation has proven once again to be a pioneer in the industry,” said Philippe Forestier, executive vice-president, Dassault Systèmes. “All users of this virtual plateau—from suppliers to Dassault Aviation’s own engineers—are establishing new frontiers in aircraft development and demonstrating the value of the PLM business transformation.”

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