Manufacturer Designs Aircraft Components on the Cloud

April 6, 2010
Woodward rents time to design parts on supercomputer instead of making physical prototypes.

Computer-aided design swept through the automotive and aerospace industries decades ago. But its sophistication only continues to grow, especially with the promise of using supercomputers.

Airplane parts manufacturer Woodward is now renting time to design parts on an IBM supercomputer instead of making physical prototypes. This has allowed Woodward to deliver parts to market 80% faster while generating half the waste from prototype materials.

Woodward has begun accessing a high-performance cloud environment from Nimbis Services and IBM to simulate and design its components.

Last year, Woodward, working with the University of Southern Californias Information Sciences Institute (ISI), took part in a supply chain pilot project to explore how small manufacturers can effectively use supercomputer environments for industrial design and modeling.

Woodward found that high-performance computing allowed it to more accurately model the behavior of fuel nozzles designed for Pratt & Whitney engines.

Based on the success of the program, Nimbis and IBM will offer other vendors in the U.S. defense supply chain high-performance cloud services that meet International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which control the export and import of defense-related articles and services.

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