Mentor Graphics Corp. (NASDAQ: MENT), announced that Bell Helicopter has been able to significantly streamline their wiring design processes on the Bell 525 Relentless program as part of its Business System Modernization systems upgrade. Bell Helicopter achieved this improvement by adopting transformational technology delivered by Mentor Graphics® Capital® product family. The Bell 525 Relentless is the first commercial helicopter to incorporate fly-by-wire control, and is scheduled to first fly in 2014.
The Capital suite is an advanced software suite for the electrical system and wire harness domain. Used by leading aerospace OEMs, the Capital suite is built to support the complex demands of integrated processes from initial aircraft definition through electrical system and design, harness manufacture and aircraft maintenance.
To integrate the electronic systems of this sophisticated platform, Bell Helicopter used the Capital suites generative design technology. This process merges systems definition and platform packaging data with architectural design constraints to synthesize wiring and generate design documentation.
This methodology is new to the aerospace industry and provided multiple benefits. The synthesis technology gave Bell a means to evaluate alternative systems integration architectures very quickly in order to determine the optimum, for example to minimize platform weight. The Capital suites generative design capabilities provided Bell Helicopter engineers the ability to evaluate change impact more easily and move decisions to earlier points in the design cycle, where the cost and effort of making changes is relatively low.
Complementing the Capital suites constraints-based systems integration technology is the automatic creation of wiring diagrams. Wiring diagrams are key artifacts in aerospace electrical systems design processes. The self-documenting capabilities of the Capital suite provided Bell the ability to spend more time on design and less time with documentation.
Bell Helicopter used the Mentor® Capital® Logic, Capital® Integrator, and AutoView software, supplemented by the Capital suites CATIA V6 MCAD integration applications, to streamline and improve the Bell 525 Relentless electrical systems development process. In addition, Bell Helicopters manufacturing planning team is using other parts of the Capital product to address the challenges of harness manufacturing engineering and form-board development. Because Capital employs a data-centric architecture, many design taskssuch as the management of objects shared across multiple schematics and inline connector distributioncan be significantly automated, reducing both design and validation time.
Bell Helicopter is a great example of a leading-edge company leveraging Capitals technical power to achieve quantifiable business benefits. Using the generative approach during the electrical systems architecture definition phase provides significant capabilities that favorably impact product development costs and timescales, said Martin OBrien, general manager of the Integrated Electrical Systems Division of Mentor Graphics. As we move forward, the increasing effect of regulatory requirements will put further attention on improving design processes. Companies such as Bell Helicopter are well placed to meet these demands efficiently.