Thales showcases PLM success

Posted on 27 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

Will investment-shy Brits suffer as Europeans steal a march in the implementation of design software?

Aerospace manufacturers are not the only companies with vested interests in the potential orders to be won at the Paris Air Show.

Last week software vendor, Dassault Systèmes, announced that it had successfully completed the implementation of a new product lifecycle management (PLM) system with Thales Alenia Space to support the aerospace company’s management of product data and enhance design collaboration among stakeholders.

Thales Alenia Space is a leading European designer and manufacturer of satellites for telecommunications and defense. The organisation identified a need to reduce development time for products in an increasingly competitive market and was looking for a means for unifying disperate engineering design processes across its complex products.

Dassault Systèmes, has provided Thales Alenia Space with an interoperable system which can pass information freely between different design environments.

CATIA and ENOVIA, Dassault’s core PLM offerings were introduced first in order to create a concurrent design environment. These platforms were then enhanced by the implementation of 3DLive and 3DVIA. These simulation technologies have allowed a previously impossible level of simulation testing and significantly reduced that amount of time needed to create technical documentation for Thales’ products.

Advances in the Space sector have been listed as a top priority by government when considering areas of competitive potential for the UK. Within this strategy the ability to develop products fatser and more effectively than global rival will be key and will determine the extent to which the UK space sector can contribute to economic recovery in the UK.

Generally speaking software vendors in the PLM market; including PTC, Autodesk and Siemens, have found the UK more reluctant than many EU contemporaries when it comes to investing in enabling software solutions.

While instances of desktop purchases have sky-rocketed in the last year, purchases of enterprise software have remained stagnant. One senior representative of Autodesk said this was because British cesigners: “are confortable with what they have got” but are unaware of the many advances that have recently been made in CAD and PLM technology.

Thales Alenia Space has rolled out the PLM solution in selected sites in France and Italy but will now look to continue the implementation in other sites across Belgium and Spain.

Partners and suppliers of Thales ‘Space Alliance’ can access the company’s PLM platform to enable real-time collaboration throughout the supply chain. “Enabling collaboration between our employees and partners at all levels of the engineering process will open up new possibilities for innovation and excellence that we are confident we will be able to achieve with the Dassault Systèmes solutions,” said Michel Fiat, vice president operations, Thales Alenia Space.

The implementation of Dassault’s PLM offering at Thales Alenia Space was undertaken by re-seller Keonys, a distributor with strong experience of the nuamces involved in satellite design. Patrick Fardeau, vice president, EMEA, Aerospace & Defense, Dassault Systèmes commented: “Working in close cooperation with our partner Keonys, we have been able to provide Thales Alenia Space with a new collaborative platform that gives them a greater level of performance and efficiency within the satellite marketplace.

“This platform will offer significant efficiency and design quality improvements by enabling close multi-site collaboration with industrial partners and subcontractors early in the design phase and throughout the product development life cycle. Close integration of engineering data within the manufacturing process of this highly complex product, right down to the shop floor will also streamline operations.”