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Increased use of Anvil-5000
Increased use of Anvil-5000
Keywords Aircraft, CADCAM, MCS, Software
The Air Fleet Department of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, DERA, has recently increased its use of ANVIL-5000, the complete CADCAM engineering software package from MCS Ltd.
Michael Evans, design office manager at the Boscombe Down site, says AFD now runs some 40 seats of ANVIL-5000. This is the result of increased demand for the department's world-leading experimental flying services.
Recent design activities include an experimental cockpit for a Tornado avionics research aircraft, airborne GPS installations, a multiple radar installation for a large laboratory aircraft and design of aircraft pods. These can hold extra fuel, instrumentation for experimental flights and stores, which means high explosives, not food, to AFD.
Pod design has many complexities. They have to mate securely with curved surfaces of aircraft wings and fuselage, fixings have to be secure but enable easy changing by ground crew while release mechanisms have to be reliable on jettisonable pods.
Design is also something of a trade off. Low weight is critical but pod structure has to withstand high G-forces, high air speeds, sonic shocks and effects of armaments firing. They also affect aircraft handling. If airflow over a pod creates excessive downward force the aircraft will use more fuel and handle sluggishly.
On the other hand, if pod design creates lift, then the pod could rise on release and strike the aircraft. In the case of stores, this could affect aiming accuracy at best, and blow up the aircraft at worst. In addition, the overall pod design must create minimum air resistance.
Wireframe models created in ANVIL-5000 can be taken and used by finite element analysis software to examine stress. This saves recreating models in the FEA software and Michael Evans says this has reduced overall analysis time from weeks to hours. ANVIL-5000 also creates models for the aerodynamics engineers to analyse aircraft handling.
Five seats in the department have solid modelling modules while AFD also uses ANVIL-5000 for 2D drafting of electrical circuits and wiring harnesses. Some seats have MERK, the rendering and animation module which creates broadcast quality images. It enables simulation of complex structures such as robot arms and opens up new opportunities in sales, technical and training areas.
Fitting equipment into cockpits, for example, can be detailed using MERK with each step captioned and highlighted using freeze frame. For the Air Fleet Department, which deals internationally, visual instructions on computer disk can help overcome language difficulties.
Today's fighter aircraft cockpits have to be small to minimise the frontal area of the fuselage and keep drag to a minimum. However, they have to take more and more electronic equipment as warfare becomes increasingly high-tech. ANVIL-5000 helps check the fitting of experimental equipment into cockpits. It saves using expensive hangar and aircraft time, cuts waiting time, reduces costs and enables projects to progress without delay.
Some seats in the department have auto-machining modules. These are used for manufacturing in the site's workshop although subcontractors are often used. Michael Evans says the department chose ANVIL5000 because of its performance to cost ratio. The department has also used ANVIL for a long time and was extremely satisfied with the performance and support.
For further information contact MCS. Tel: +44 (0) 1264 350022; Fax: +44 (0) 1264 350319.