PARIS, March 31, 2008 – Dassault Systèmes (DS) (Nasdaq: DASTY; Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA), a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, today announced an alliance agreement with AREVA NP’s metrology services division to provide nuclear plant operators with precise 3D digital representations of their facilities to better guide maintenance and retrofit operations.
AREVA NP scanning technology uses laser light to record existing facilities’ exact, as-built geometry, which provides the added benefit of identifying variances from original design specifications. DS’s CATIA design software renders the AREVA NP data as 3D models, and DS’s DELMIA digital construction software enables engineers to plan maintenance and upgrades in an interactive 3D environment based on real-life specifications. This is a significant feature, because the actual construction of a nuclear facility often does not match the original design.
“A pipe shown to be three inches lower than the original design might seem minor, but it could stop a multi-million dollar project in its tracks,” said Paul Nicholas, AREVA NP project manager, metrology services. “A schedule slippage costs the plant operator twofold, because the offline plant does not earn revenue, and the operator incurs additional engineering time and costs.”
Most of the nuclear plants in service today were designed by teams of engineers who usually worked separately. During construction, on-site engineers often modified designs to reconcile conflicts between different design teams’ work. Those modifications were not always added back to the final version of the facilities’ blueprint. This can cause major complications in maintenance operation planning and implementation. For example, a surprise such as a load-bearing support beam hidden by a wall can knock a project off schedule and significantly raise the plant operator’s costs.
“AREVA NP and DS are incredibly complimentary technologies for nuclear plant maintenance, with AREVA NP excelling at capturing as-built geometry and DS excelling at using that geometry to plan cost-effective maintenance and upgrades,” said Al Casas, nuclear industry specialist, Dassault Systèmes. “This teaming agreement, which includes our longstanding partner BCP Engineers, offers nuclear operators applying for re-licensing the technology capabilities and consulting expertise to convince regulators they can upgrade nuclear plants efficiently and safely.”
Several U.S. nuclear operators are using CATIA and DELMIA to plan retrofits of plants built in the 1970s and 1980s, so they can apply for another 20-year license from the federal government. With DS DELMIA 3D digital construction software, they can simulate the process, anticipate and correct problems before starting, and avoid costly overruns.
“DS and AREVA NP see a worldwide need for integrated solutions like this,” said Rolf Gibbels, director, worldwide energy industry leader, Dassault Systèmes. “Not only is this relevant to maintenance and the retrofit of plants, but it has wide applications in new construction to monitor and validate ongoing construction and engineering plans.”