MONTRÉAL, 26 Sept. 2013. Engineers at Bell Helicopter, a manufacturer of rotary-wing aircraft, significantly streamlined their wiring design processes on the Bell 525 Relentless program with tools from Mentor Graphics Corp. (NASDAQ:MENT).
Bell Helicopter adopted transformational technology in the Mentor Graphics Capital product family as part of its Business System Modernization of the Bell 525 Relentless, the first commercial helicopter to incorporate fly-by-wire control.
The Capital suite, an advanced software suite for the electrical system and wire harness domain, is used by leading aerospace OEMs to support the complex demands of integrated processes from initial aircraft definition through electrical system and design, harness manufacture, and aircraft maintenance.
Bell Helicopter used the Mentor Capital Logic, Capital Integrator, and AutoView software, supplemented by the Capital suite’s CATIA V6 MCAD integration applications, to streamline and improve the Bell 525 Relentless electrical systems development process.
Bell Helicopter’s manufacturing planning team is using other parts of the Capital product to address the challenges of harness manufacturing engineering and formboard development. Because Capital employs a data-centric architecture, many design tasks—such as the management of objects shared across multiple schematics and inline connector distribution—can be significantly automated, reducing both design and validation time.
“Bell Helicopter is a great example of a leading-edge company leveraging Capital’s technical power to achieve quantifiable business benefits. Using the generative approach during the electrical systems architecture definition phase provides significant capabilities that favorably impact product development costs and timescales,” says Martin O’Brien, general manager of the Integrated Electrical Systems Division of Mentor Graphics. “As we move forward, the increasing effect of regulatory requirements will put further attention on improving design processes. Companies such as Bell Helicopter are well placed to meet these demands efficiently.”
To integrate the electronic systems of this sophisticated platform, Bell Helicopter used the Capital suite’s generative design technology, which merges systems definition and platform packaging data with architectural design constraints to synthesize wiring and generate design documentation. The synthesis technology gave Bell Helicopter a means to evaluate alternative systems integration architectures quickly to minimize platform weight, for example. The Capital suite’s generative design capabilities provided Bell Helicopter engineers the ability to evaluate change impact more easily and move decisions to earlier points in the design cycle, where the cost and effort of making changes is relatively low.
Complementing the Capital suite’s constraints-based systems integration technology is the automatic creation of wiring diagrams, key artifacts in aerospace electrical systems design processes. The self-documenting capabilities of the Capital suite provided Bell the ability to spend more time on design and less time with documentation.
The Bell 525 Relentless is scheduled to fly in 2014.