August 10, 2022

Deutsche Aircraft takes another step in the D328eco production process

The aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft claims to have reached two important milestones in its D328eco project.

Working with engineering service provider umlaut, part of Accenture, the wing spar box was scanned and 3D modeled. The wing spar box connects the wing to the fuselage and supports the leading and trailing edges of the wings, rudder, engines, and landing gear. On this basis, industrialization partner Heggemann optimized manufacturing processes for Industry 4.0 standards and produced a first wing spar box prototype. This proves that automated production of the D328eco is possible to the extent desired by Deutsche Aircraft.

The D328eco is based on the Dornier 328, an aircraft from the 1990s. The aircraft was always designed in 2D on paper or with limited 3D-based software. In order to be able to further use the design data and adapt it to the purposes of the D328eco, it had to be digitized. Deutsche Aircraft chose umlaut for its engineering and aerospace expertise to jointly create a digital twin, which provides an exact copy of the original aircraft design and can also incorporate all structural development innovations of the past 30 years. This digital twin serves as both the basis for automated manufacturing and validation of designs, tools and production processes. According to Simona Naver, program manager at Deutsche Aircraft, the data converted from 2D to 3D will also be used for certification of the new aircraft.

“The DMU makes it much easier for us to optimize designs for industrial production. Thirty years ago, when the original Dornier 328 was built, a lot was still done manually. With the 3D conversion of the D328eco, we can save material and map production processes more easily and with consistent quality,” said Gregory Seymour, Aircraft Construction Development Engineer at Deutsche Aircraft.

As part of a “triad”, Heggemann is also involved in the project. The company is responsible for the industrialization of the wing spar box and uses, among other things, the corresponding 3D design data. To demonstrate that the company can produce aircraft parts automatically and with high quality, the first wing spar box prototype was manufactured and tested after a feasibility analysis.

“The wing spar box is the most complex part of the airframe. Its manufacture as the first system-level prototype shows that the other parts of the project are on the right track,” explained Simona Naver.

After this first system-level prototype, it is clear, on the one hand, that the 3D conversion of 2D design data and its adaptation to the new standards is working as expected. On the other hand, the tools and processes developed by Heggemann for the D328eco program have proven themselves.

“We saw that we could have parts for the D328eco automatically and efficiently manufactured. In addition, there is less excess material with the new manufacturing processes. It also takes us in a sustainable direction and responds to the D328eco strategy,” said Rosario De Luca. , senior design engineer at Deutsche Aircraft.

Now more parts need to be scanned and prepared as CAD/CAM models for production, design validation and type certification. The goal is to be able to digitally represent the D328eco in its entirety. umlaut will continue to support the transfer from 2D to 3D and Heggemann will bolster Deutsche Aircraft’s D328eco program with wings and landing gear.