New Partnership Unveils Digital Engineering Transformation

Lockheed Martin and Spirit AeroSystems have designed, planned, simulated, executed, and validated advanced production processes, leading to a 70% reduction in required assembly hours and a 95% increase in initial quality By DA Staff / 17 Aug 2021
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Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. has joined with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to unveil Polaris, a digital engineering and advanced assembly demonstrator that was used to validate improvements in product development from initial design to final assembly at an event on August 10 in Palmdale, Calif.

“Spirit AeroSystems is proud we were selected by Lockheed Martin to demonstrate the integration of a Tier 1 supplier into their Integrated Digital Environment (IDE), and then utilize that environment to validate advanced production processes on a demonstration platform,” said Duane Hawkins, senior vice president; president, Defense and Space Division. 

“The IDE and its advanced production processes, including Full Size-Hole Determinant Assembly (FSDA), will form the foundation of how future defense programs are executed, and revolutionize the speed at which new products can be brought to market.”

The Spirit Defense and Space Division integrated commercial best practices around digital design and manufacturing seamlessly into the Lockheed Martin IDE, enabling the collaborative development of production-ready solutions that build on the strengths of both the Spirit AeroSystems and Lockheed Martin teams.

“This reduced project execution cost and time by enabling parallel engineering development and operations planning, facilitating the team’s ability to clearly communicate and ensure consistency of requirements, and to identify integration challenges before parts and tools were ever released for fabrication,” Hawkins said.

This integration allows design and production optimization to occur simultaneously, enabling production programs to progress down the learning curve prior to first-unit build. As a result of the Lockheed Martin and Spirit AeroSystems collaboration, advanced production processes were designed, planned, simulated, executed, and validated, leading to a 70% reduction in required assembly hours and a 95% increase in initial quality.

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