Decision support to determine the design (modular or monolithic) of XXL-products on the basis of lifecycle costs

Theme
XXL products
Project title Decision support to determine the design (modular or monolithic) of XXL-products on the basis of lifecycle costs (SkalKomp XXL)
Project duration 01.07.2011 – 30.06.2013
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Press release

The product design already determines 70% of the future product costs. Therefore, the structural design offers a promising approach for reducing the lifecycle costs of XXL-products. An essential design parameter is the decision between a monolithic or modular construction. The current design of many XXL-products can be described as largely monolithic; the basic structure consists of a small number of undivided components. For example the top cover of the Airbus A350 wing consists of a single component with a length of 32 meters. For the production of these large scaled components production machines with very huge dimensions are needed. However, other XXL-products such as the fuselage of an Airbus A350 are not one-piece components. The fuselage is composed of several fuselage modules. In this research project, a small-scaled modular design for airplane wings is developed and the technical feasibility is discussed. Overall, the projected lifecycle costs are estimated as a function of the module number. 

Publications about the project

The range of structure sizes for industrial products produced today is increasingly expanding. This trend is evident in both small-scale (e.g. semiconductor applications) and large-scale (e.g. wind turbine rotors) products. While definitions already exist for smaller scale device structures, the conceptual distinction between conventional large products and large scale products is currently insufficient. In this study, we present a potential basis for the definition of large scale products. To achieve this, we derive hypotheses and examine these in the context of an empirical study using the examples of several sample products. It is shown that the transition from conventional products to large scale products is characterized by a disproportionate increase in product costs due to the augmentation of a characteristic product feature. Eventually we derive a proposed definition which characterizes large scale products in the field of production engineering.

xxl-product, large-scale, xxl, definition

The production of large-scaled products is often associated not only with great challenges, but also with enormous costs. The way how the product is designed offers the greatest potential for cost reduction. At the IPH, engineers are currently developing a new modular design for XXL products.

xxl products, modular design

The product design already determines 70% of the future product costs. Therefore, the structural design offers a promising approach for reducing the lifecycle costs of an airplane. An essential design parameter is the decision between a monolithic or modular construction. The current design of aircraft wings can be described as largely monolithic; the basic structure consists of a small number of undivided components. For example the top cover of the Airbus A350 wing consists of a single component with a length of 32m. For the production of these large scaled components production machines, e.g. autoclaves, with very huge dimensions are needed. However other aircraft parts such as the fuselage are not one-piece components. The fuselage is composed of several fuselage modules, which are pre-equipped and then riveted together. In this paper, a small-scaled modular design for airplane wings is presented and the technical feasibility is discussed. Moreover, we identified modularization factors which significantly influence the decision between a monolithic or modular construction.

structural design, large scaled products, modular design

Sponsor

The project no. 11.2-76221-99-2/10 was part of the joint research project Innovations for the manufacturing of large scale products funded by the Ministry for the Economy, Labour and Transport of Lower Saxony and the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.

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