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Kaman Helicopters is to license Vistagy’s FiberSIM composites engineering software to streamline the design–to–manufacturing process for large composite helicopter blades, by providing early visibility into producibility challenges and facilitating a smooth hand-off of composite manufacturing data to the shop floor.
Kaman estimates that FiberSIM will enable the firm to reduce ply development time from 180 to 40 hours, a saving of 78 percent, and average part layup time from 32 to 20 hours, a savings of 38 percent.
Kaman Helicopters, which is an OEM and provider of rotor blades and major subcontract assemblies, components and detail parts, will use Vistagy’s composites expertise by employing its professional services organization to help develop and implement best practices for standardizing composites development processes. Kaman Helicopters is using FiberSIM within its Siemens NX computer-aided-design (CAD) system.
Kaman Helicopters selected FiberSIM because defining ply flat patterns for each ply in a composite design was simply taking too much time. By implementing FiberSIM, the firm expects to significantly reduce the hours required for ply development and layup, streamline its manufacturing process, and eventually eliminate the use of Mylar patterns. Kaman Helicopters is using the software to define flat patterns as well as generate data to drives its laser projection system.
“Working with composites is extremely time-consuming and tedious,” said Tim Bates, general manager of Kaman Helicopters’ Blade Center of Excellence and Subcontract Product Group. “By adopting FiberSIM, we expect to be able to automate non-value added tasks to achieve significant productivity gains, improve overall part quality and repeatability and increase our throughput. Vistagy’s role as the leader in composites engineering for aerospace was also a critical factor in our decision to work with them.”
“We’re pleased to be working with one of the leading suppliers to the helicopter industry,” said Steve Peck, VISTAGY’s director of product marketing and strategy for aerostructures. “By implementing FiberSIM and taking advantage of our professional services’ team vast experience in aerospace, we’re confident that Kaman Helicopters will enhance its productivity so it can meet its business goals.”
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