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Manufacturing Producibility Risk Assessments (MPRA)

The aerospace industry has significantly introduced composite aerostructures replacing metal as the primary structure for such aircraft platforms as:  B 787, A350, A400, A380, F-22 (Raptor), and F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter). The decision to introduce composites was based on OEM process trials which have shown to reduce the aircraft's weight while improving fuel efficiency of operating platforms. From the process trials, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), such as Boeing and Airbus, relied on automation such as automated fiber placement (AFP) and Automated Tape Laying (ATL) machines to economically manufacture composite structures. The promises of high-speed lay down rates were used to establish cost methodology. Failure to fully assess manufacturing producibility using carbon composites design solutions can materially increase financial risks for Tier I and Tier II’s/Tier III’s performance to long-term contracting requirements. The transition into production qualification and first article inspections have demonstrated that the technology remains under development and thus impacting Non-Recurring Cost investments as well as achieving Recurring Price targets.

What can GMC2 do to provide MPRA’s?

GMC2 has assembled a team of experienced aerostructure experts with direct working knowledge of manufacturing using automation who can assess the manufacturing producibility risk assessments (MPRA’s) associated with the use and the level of automation necessary to successfully implement the manufacturing approach to produce compliant aerostructure components. The GMC2 experienced engineering team understands that turnkey automation equipment by itself does not assure manufacturing producibility success or the achievement of contracted prices. Designs are often vague and left to the OEM qualification teams to resolve unproven technical challenges, increasing the risk for increased nonrecurring costs. Introduction of high- speed machine centers and new non-destructive ultrasonic test equipment are still under engineering manufacturing development. Identification of the manufacturing producibility assessment risks and accounting for them in the cost methodology can significantly contribute to the execution of qualification and track projects against the baseline targets.
When Tier I or Tier II/III companies decide to compete and win long term contracting awards or modifications thereof, the proposal or change proposal phase is critical. The assessment of company expertise and core competencies must be identified clearly: the project is a derivative from known processes or, it is a significant change in manufacturing producibility requirements which necessitates significant company NRE prior to entering production deliveries. Evaluation of the design to establish base line definitions and compiling the ground rules and assumptions reduces risk for the Tier I and II Company. When evaluating the design, what attributes must be included to facilitate automation and the control of the acceptance criteria can further reduce risk for project performance. The tooling approach can further impact competitiveness for contract award, the GMC2 team can help establish the least manufacturing producibility risk approach and thus assist clients in their cost methodology to establish a composite manufacturing producibility baseline to address necessary solutions for unknown technological challenges due to tooling for automation applications including non-destruct item (NDI) testing standards. GMC2 can help identify key risk areas within cost methodology considerations and potential areas that lead to changes in the baseline statement of work that prolonged period of performance impacts and thus financial considerations of cash flow and operating profit.

Where the industry is and what do we provide?

In terms of time, the chart below shows that the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP), also known as composites, relative to time is in its infancy stage compared to other known materials and their known manufacturing producibility models.  Major new program start-ups have accelerated the development and usage of aerostructure produced parts by means of CFRP solutions supporting programs identified above.  International and national program management models using ever increasing CFRP aerostructures are evolving with increased complexities.  Transaction costs and new production processes for mass production of CFRP aerostructures have impacted program execution and operating profitability during the start-up phases leading to aircraft certifications and production ramp-ups.  Tier II/III suppliers are incurring increasing demands on design authority arrangements in lieu of their expertise as build-to-print and thus further compounded their manufacturing producibility risk assessments.  The CFRP is moving from infancy and slowly moving to an engineering manufacturing development state with significant risks to deliver complaint CFRP parts:  AFT/ATL or Hand Lay-up produced. 
Chart below represents Evolution of Materials and Applications over time.

Commercial Aircraft increasing the use of CFRP aerostructures produced parts while still remaining in an engineering manufacturing development phase.

For more detailed information, please link to Manufacturing Producibility Risk Assessments in the PUBLICATIONS section of this web site.


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