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Vistagy has sold over $1 million of FiberSIM software to Lockheed Martin to expand Lockheed’s use of FiberSIM for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. FiberSIM software has also been purchased by JSF partners BAE SYSTEMS and Northrop Grumman.
The F-35 JSF is a stealthy, supersonic, multirole fighter plane designed for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the U.K. Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the militaries of numerous allied nations. It will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. To meet strict affordability targets in the JSF program, Lockheed Martin has established a virtual product development environment in which engineers simulate every design and manufacturing process prior to tool creation and physical prototyping. Within this virtual design environment, FiberSIM software provides simulation and analysis capabilities that reduce the cost of composite parts. The JSF employs a higher percentage of composites than previous fighters.
“”Lockheed Martin originally purchased FiberSIM in 1996 as part of our initiative to implement best-in-class software tools for the Joint Strike Fighter program,”” says Mike Henson, software product manager for Lockheed Martin. “”Since then, we have worked actively with Vistagy to merge FiberSIM with our other engineering software and processes. Lockheed Martin’s goal is to integrate the most productive composites design and manufacturing tools available.””
“”Lockheed Martin tested FiberSIM tools for the Joint Strike Fighter program while designing an auxiliary inlet duct,”” says Steve Luby, president and CEO of Vistagy, Inc. “”Using the software, they were able to cut engineering and manufacturing time for the part by more than half. Since then, Lockheed Martin has increased its reliance on composite materials in the JSF program and realized additional savings using FiberSIM.””
FiberSIM software automates the design process, assesses the producibility of a part, and generates manufacturing information to interface with automated cutters, laser projectors, and fiber placement machines. The software enables users to drive all aspects of preliminary design, analysis, detailed design, and manufacturing from within the CAD environment. XML tools in FiberSIM allow engineers to share design data with other applications throughout the enterprise, such as software for procurement, quality assurance and manufacturing.
Shown is a partial view of FiberSIM operating in a CATIA session. The 3D model simulates the lay-up of a unidirectional composite ply over a tool used for fabricating an inlet duct for a fighter jet. FiberSIM assesses part manufacturability by displaying how woven and unidirectional composite materials will distort during lay-up when draped over complex surfaces. The green line indicates the ply boundary, while the blue, yellow and red lines represent the true orientation of fibers within the ply. In this case, the complex curvature of the duct tool causes areas of mild (yellow) and severe (red) distortion during lay-up. Understanding fiber orientation is of primary importance in producing composite parts because it enables engineers to assess part producibility in the early stages of design and make the necessary changes to ensure that the part will meet structural specifications.
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