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Use Case: EWIS architecture design

The DEFAINE EWIS use case is led by GKN Aerospace - Fokker Elmo. It's purpose is to define the architecture of the Electric Wiring Interconnection System at the conceptual design phase.

Visualization of a generated EWIS architecture within the ParaPy Architecture Modeler application

We interview Robin Augustinus, a Senior Research Engineer working as Project Lead at Fokker Elmo's EWIS Optimization Program.

What is the high-level business problem?

During early conceptual design phases, input data is still scarce and immature. In addition, EWIS (Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems) is traditionally one of the last parties invited to the table. However, conceptual design decisions can have huge impact on the resulting weight and cost of both the EWIS and overall aircraft. Thus, more collaboration and substantiation within early conceptual stages is crucial to meet the current market weight, cost and lead time targets.

Why cannot we explore it today, with the methods you have in the company?

Current processes are largely manual and rely hugely on experience of senior design engineers. This limits the flexibility of the process and limits the amount of time available to evaluate different conventional and non-conventional concepts. Current designs always comply with all requirements, but might not be optimal with respect to weight, cost or other targets.

In what way will DEFAINE will then help with?

DEFAINE will assist in realizing the automation and optimization required to enable quick and substantiated trade-offs of EWIS (Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems) architecture designs, for different aircraft design concepts.

  • Using technology such as the ParaPy SDK, automation applications can be generated that are more flexible, maintainable and time-efficient, while guaranteeing correctness of all design elements through functionality such as dependency tracking. [1] This will result in automatic EWIS architecture design capability which can rapidly generate any number of EWIS architecture designs for any requirements and aircraft designs.

  • Using TU Delft MBSE methodology[2], application and product data can be modeled in a more structured and descriptive way, easing knowledge modeling and maintenance. In addition, the code skeleton generation and round tripping functionality can automatically generate a code skeleton from the knowledge models, as well as automatically keep your knowledge model up to date with any code changes.

  • Using DoE and optimization techniques as well as front-loading[3], a much larger part of the design space can be analyzed. This will enable providing more substantiated optimal solutions for different design configurations, thus giving more substantiation to overall aircraft design decisions.

What results have you achieved so far?

A first version of the EWIS Architecture Modeler ParaPy application has been developed. This application showcases the possibilities of the Architecture Modeler, such as generating a first set of architectural channels, as well as performing preliminary routing over these channels. Within the next months, functionality will be developed to provide more flexibility to the architecture generation as well as adding automatic evaluation of Particular Risk Analyses on the EWIS architecture. The application has reached TRL 3, with TRL 4 planned for the end of this year.

In addition, a first iteration has been performed with the TU Delft MBSE approach for modeling knowledge and generating a first code skeleton. This evaluation has been very promising, and further improvement potential has been identified. In the rest of the year, these improvements will be tested, as well as the first version of aforementioned round-tripping functionality.

Finally, the last year of the DEFAINE project will be used to create and implement an optimization strategy around the Architecture Modeler application, using DoE, optimization and front-loading techniques investigated within the DEFAINE consortium.

References [1] [2] A. Raju Kulkarni et al. An MBSE approach to support Knowledge Based Engineering application development, 2023 CEAS Conference, to be released [3] A. van der Laan et al. Integrated multidisciplinary engineering solutions at Fokker Aerostructures, 2015 CEAS Conference

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