The CT Engineering Group

Leading an automated fuselage assembly project for a major aerospace manufacturer, CT used the Engineered to Fly industry solution on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for all design, simulation, project management, product data management and collaboration.

Bringing virtual commissioning to fuselage assembly plants

Clean Sky 2 is a pioneering initiative backed by the European Union that hopes to make viable the manufacturing of huge aircraft components by using more sustainable materials. As part of the innovation program, the Multifunctional Automation System for Fuselage Assembly Line (MultiFAL) project is developing an automated plant system for joining thermoplastic fuselage shells. By building and testing the plant in the virtual world first, it aims to speed up plant commissioning time and define the detailed production steps required for a successful assembly of thermoplastic fuselage.

As the aerospace industry pursues a more sustainable future, new materials such as thermoplastic composites present major advantages over metals thanks to their high strength, resistance and lightweight properties, helping to drive down fuel costs and emissions. Aircraft manufacturers already use thermoplastics to make small components yet scaling them up to make something as large as the fuselage is a new challenge. Joining two composite shells together to form the fuselage requires very large, specialized robotic tools with advanced software control. MultiFAL set out to prove that it’s not only possible to create such an assembly plant, but it can be done cost effectively by repurposing existing plant facilities and robots. And it’s making it all happen using automation and virtual commissioning technology.

Coordinating the MultiFAL project is The CT Engineering Group (CT). The European engineering company headquartered in Spain is also responsible for designing and final testing of the fuselage demonstrator.

“The project’s goal is to apply virtual commissioning to an automated plant system,” said Jose Maria Rodriguez Valenzuela, R&D project manager at CT. “It will enable the industry to improve productivity, flexibility, cost efficiency, parallel planning, and new capabilities to manufacture in different lot sizes would be available. In addition, it would facilitate the planning of different variants from the engineering phase. By simulating a multitude of setups during the plant’s design phase, we can optimize the final production plant. It will enable new forms of enterprise productivity.”

CT needed an innovative platform to support the design and testing of the automated plant system. The company implemented the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform on cloud to ensure the project ran as smoothly as possible.

CT Engineering successfully completed the MultiFAL project using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud

Achieving breakthrough innovation

In complex projects like MultiFAL, strong collaboration is essential. Already using CATIA to design the automated plant, CT decided to move the project to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud to improve coordination between all contributors – designers, managers, partners and external suppliers.

“A key goal was to integrate the complete set of requirements from all the stakeholders into the development of the production system,” said Jose Evelio Jimenez, country manager in Spain at CT. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform supported that.”

Today, CT has successfully demonstrated that it’s possible to reduce the commissioning time of automated plant systems by up to 20% through virtual commissioning. At the same time, by connecting plant system and production control interfaces, it has improved the level of detail in defining production steps by around 25%. Through simulation, CT has been able to test different assembly approaches and use cases, taking into account the limited accessibility associated with assembling full fuselage sections. It could lead to significant cost savings for future assembly plants.

“Our automated plant system shows that we can reduce plant investment costs by up to 20% by retrofitting, extending existing assembly systems, and using simulation to test and validate complex construction requirements, electric planning and controller design,” Valenzuela said. “Through automation and integrated system control, we can also lower assembly costs by around 10% to 30%, and reduce machine downtime by 10%.”

up to -20%

Plant investment costs reduction

up to -30%

Lower assembly costs


Machine downtime reduction

Moving to 3DEXPERIENCE for powerful project management

CT’s success is ultimately down to its ability to innovate, adapt and embrace the latest technological capabilities – key qualities the company is proud to possess as it helps its customers stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly evolving industrial landscape.

“Embedded in CT’s DNA is a culture of continuous improvement that helps to inspire, teach and empower our employees to apply innovation to their daily work,” Jimenez said. “They’re encouraged to anticipate and investigate issues, which leads to good decision-making and breakthrough transformation in engineering.”

CT worked closely with its technology partner Cadtech to implement the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Because the software is cloud-based, CT was able to implement it quickly. However, through hands-on support and comprehensive training, Cadtech was invaluable for ensuring CT got the most from the platform.

“Cadtech was essential to the success of this project since we had no prior knowledge of the platform,” Jimenez said. “They helped us to deploy the platform, trained us how to use it in the best way and delivered all the support we needed at every stage.”

Today, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud powered by ENOVIA serves as the main storage environment for all data related to MultiFAL, including all models designed in CATIA and the associated drawings, manufacturing bill of materials and assembly instruction documentation. Being able to manage all data in one place gives CT full visibility of every stage of the plant development cycle and helps to avoid information duplication.

“Original and migrated data can all be managed within the platform with full version control,” Valenzuela said. “We no longer have duplicated models, link errors in the product structure or missing file folders. We also don’t need to send files via email.”

Further to benefiting from the platform’s latest design and simulation capabilities, CT valued the ability to more easily share and track modifications and work concurrently in teams on the same parts.

“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s collaborative spaces and roles capabilities mean that different users can work in the same environment, on the same 3D model with different access rights,” Valenzuela said. “This has really helped with task management and allowed us to make iterative corrections and improvements during the development phase.”

CT used ENOVIA’s comprehensive project management capabilities to keep track of every asset and task to ensure it hit key project milestones on time.

“The platform enables us to define a task, linked to a specific 3D model, and assign it to a required user with a deadline,” Valenzuela added. “The task can be also monitored and modified with the latest status such as ‘to do’, ‘in work’, and ‘completed’.”

Original and migrated data can all be managed within the platform with full version control. We no longer have duplicated models, link errors in the product structure or missing file folders.

Jose Maria Rodriguez Valenzuela
R&D Project Manager, CT Engineering Spain

In pursuit of sustainable transformation

Projects like MultiFAL are a great example of how the aerospace industry continues to push the boundaries of innovation to reduce its environmental impact and build a new generation of sustainable aircraft. For CT, which focuses on pioneering breakthrough transformation in engineering through open innovation, this is just the beginning of how it plans to use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to support its endeavors.

“Based on the excellent results we’ve achieved in this project, we plan to extend the use of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for future R&D projects,” Valenzuela said. “From the beginning, we’ve seen how the platform allowed us to collaborate more fluidly and encouraged and accelerated innovation. It’s a strategic imperative for us to build up our 3DEXPERIENCE know-how across different R&D projects as the future of the aerospace industry will pass through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and we must be ready to tackle whatever challenges the future holds.”

ct engineering group logo > Dassault Systemes

Focus on The CT Engineering Group

CT is a leading technological company that provides innovation and engineering services in the aeronautical, space, naval, automotive, rail, energy and industrial plants sectors. CT pushes the boundaries of technology through innovation, raising performance to new levels throughout the entire life cycle of products, from design, manufacturing to post-sales support. With over 35 years of experience, today CT’s success is driven by more than 1,800 talented employees based in nine countries, spanning three continents.

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Focus on Cadtech

Cadtech provides consultancy services specializing in PLM solutions. As an official value-added reseller of Dassault Systèmes technology, the solutions provider helps businesses effectively manage their product lifecycles, processes, projects and assets, including data simulation and management across Spain and Portugal.