This article was originally published in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Record.
Founded in 1969 and privatised in 1994, Embraer is a global company headquartered in Brazil with businesses in commercial and executive aviation, defence and security. It is recognised for its innovation and disruption of the aerospace industry.
Throughout Embraer’s journey to become a major player in the global aerospace market, its leaders sought the best opportunities for partnerships that could spawn new technologies that it could leverage across product lines in its business portfolio. Embraer also strives to become even better at continuous product improvement and efficiently integrating higher performing suppliers into the production and product support system to meet its goal of delivering higher-value products to its customers.
The company has partnered with Dassault Systèmes since 1997 to achieve these objectives. Most recently it implemented Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform for the development of the medium cabin Legacy 500 business jet and its smaller sibling, the Legacy 450.
“We chose the 3DEXPERIENCE platform because we believed it would allow us to do a better job integrating people and ideas, starting at the conceptual stage of product design,” says Humberto Pereira, vice president of engineering and technology at Embraer. “Another factor was our belief that it would help us create a better product.”
Dassault Systèmes solutions are helping Embraer keep up with continuously evolving technologies and customer expectations. For instance, the Legacy 500 was the first aircraft fully designed to reuse product engineering information through the different stages of development. Even before the first customer took delivery of the new Legacy 500, third-party assessments had already concluded the aircraft set a new standard for excellence – but that was no surprise to Embraer. “We used Dassault Systèmes solutions intensively to introduce new, best-in-class technologies, such as the fly-by-wire flight control system and a new interior design, and to deliver what we believed the market really expected,” says Pereira.
About 4,000 members of Embraer’s engineering, technical and product-support team use Dassault Systèmes solutions, as do many shop floor, pre-design and customer-service oriented employees. Adoption extends to Embraer’s supply chain as well. The tools have yielded a variety of benefits.
For example, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, powered by ENOVIA, has allowed Embraer to shorten the time it takes to shepherd new products through development, from conceptualisation to manufacturing, due to improved communication between functional teams and the elimination of some documentation and intermediate steps. In addition, Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA application facilitates collaboration among shop floor employees and helps them better understand all the steps involved in product assembly, increasing productivity.
With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Embraer’s engineers also find they can cross-pollinate technology between civil and military aircraft platforms more effectively. Since the late 1990s, Embraer has had different types of aircraft in development and in production simultaneously at any given time. It has recognised that innovative technologies developed for a business jet, for example, can help create a more compelling value proposition for a family of commercial jet airliners or a military transport aircraft, or vice versa. The challenge has always been finding the best way to implement such technology transfers.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform allows Embraer to efficiently evolve technology from one aircraft to another, regardless of which market the model serves, because of how information can be shared clearly and seamlessly. This is the case with the Legacy 500’s state-of-the-art fly-by-wire flight control system – a technology that is unique in its class to the eight-to-twelve-passenger, 3,125-nautical-mile jet. The system was based on a previous generation technology applied to Embraer’s first-generation commercial jets, which, in turn, was based on the original electronic flight control system developed for the AMX fighter in the 1980s and evolved into the more sophisticated system that is now applied to the Legacy 500, Legacy 450, the KC390 military transport aircraft and the E-Jets E2. “By having a well-defined engineering centre and technology roadmap, we’ve been able to evolve technology like this across business units,” Pereira said.
Embraer recognises innovation as a competitive differentiator and the speed of innovation as the advantage to drive. The data-driven, model-based architecture of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform delivered by ENOVIA collaboration applications helps it achieve this.
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