Design, develop, and produce aeroplanes and other aerospace equipment; the aerospace and defense industries is a highly complex and technologically sophisticated area requiring specialist software tools.
Aerospace engineers employ various software programs to help them with their job, including computer-aided design (CAD) software, simulation tools, and aircraft design software. In this post, we’ll look at the best software tools used by aircraft engineers to aid in their job.
CAD Software, which allows aerospace engineers to generate detailed 3D models of aircraft and aerospace systems, is a vital tool for them. CATIA, Inventor, and Autodesk are three of the most common CAD software packages utilized in the aircraft sector.
These software programs provide a variety of capabilities, such as 3D printing, parametric design, and geometry manipulation tools.
Software for Aerospace Requirements Management
Requirements management is the basis of all major aerospace engineering projects and having a grip on requirements early on is the best way to ensure satisfying customer and stakeholder needs and delivering a project on time and within budget.
Here are some of the world’s leading requirements management software for aerospace engineers.
Valispace is a web-based platform for collaborative engineering. It allows engineers to manage and share requirements, designs, and test data in a centralized and secure environment. It is particularly useful for managing complex systems such as those in aerospace, robotics and automation.
It can integrate well with lots of tools (including MATLAB and Onshape) due to its open Rest API, meaning it can be a suitable home for precious aerospace engineering data.
Benefit: Valispace enables teams to collaborate efficiently and effectively, reducing errors and improving the overall quality of the engineering process.
Limitation: It is a web-based software, which may not be suitable for teams that work in areas with low internet connectivity. Additionally, it may not have the same level of 3D modeling and simulation capabilities as specialized CAD software.
DOORS is a widely used requirements management tool in the aerospace industry. It allows users to trace, analyze, and manage requirements throughout the development process.
Benefit: It enables users to perform impact analysis, which helps identify the changes that need to be made when requirements change. Limitation: It can be complex to set up and use, and requires a certain level of technical expertise.
Jama Software is a web-based requirements management tool that allows users to collaborate on requirements in real-time.
Benefit: It allows users to manage requirements in a centralized location and has a user-friendly interface.
Limitation: It can be expensive for small teams and does not have a built-in simulation capability.
Software for Simulation
Another primary tool aerospace engineers use to test and assess the performance of aircraft and aerospace systems is simulation software. NX, Solid Edge, and PTC Creo are primary simulation software tools in the aerospace sector. These software solutions enable engineers to undertake virtual testing on their designs, identifying and correcting any possible issues before the aircraft is built.
Here are some of the aerospace and defense industries’ most well loved simulation software
COMSOL Multiphysics is a simulation software that can be used to model a wide range of physics-based problems. It is particularly useful for simulating systems that involve multiple physics, including structural mechanics, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics.
Benefit: It can simulate a wide range of physics-based problems in a single platform.
Limitation: It is a complex software and may have a steep learning curve for new users.
ANSYS is a simulation software that provides a wide range of tools for performing various types of simulations, such as finite element analysis, fluid dynamics, and electromagnetic simulations. It is widely used in the aerospace industry for simulating and analyzing the performance of aerospace systems and components.
Benefit: ANSYS is a powerful simulation software that can handle a wide range of physics-based problems, providing accurate results and insight into the performance of aerospace systems.
Limitation: It can be a complex software and may have a steep learning curve for new users. Additionally, it is a proprietary software and can be expensive to acquire and maintain.
Aviation Design Software
Aircraft design software is created primarily for aerospace engineers to use in the design and development of aircraft. SharkCAD Pro, Design Tools, and Vehicle Sketch Pad are prominent aviation design software tools.
The top design software used by Aerospace engineers are:
CATIA is a 3D CAD software used for designing and engineering aerospace components and systems. It is developed by Dassault Systèmes and widely used in the aerospace industry for conceptual design, detailed design, and analysis of aircraft and spacecraft.
Benefit: CATIA provides a wide range of powerful tools for design and engineering, including 3D modeling, analysis, and simulation
Limitation: It is a proprietary software and can be expensive to acquire and maintain.
SolidWorks is a 3D CAD software that is widely used for designing and engineering aerospace components and systems. It offers a wide range of tools for 3D modeling, analysis, and simulation, and is particularly useful for designing sheet metal parts and assemblies.
Benefit: SolidWorks is user-friendly and easy to learn, which makes it suitable for small- to medium-sized aerospace companies.
Limitation: It may not have all the advanced features that larger aerospace companies require.
Siemens NX is a 3D CAD software that is widely used in the aerospace industry for design and engineering of aerospace components and systems. It offers a wide range of tools for 3D modeling, analysis, and simulation and is particularly useful for analyzing and optimizing the performance of aerospace systems.
Benefit: Siemens NX is a powerful software that can handle complex design and engineering tasks, making it suitable for large aerospace companies.
Limitation: It can be expensive to acquire and maintain and may have a steep learning curve for new users.
Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing
3D printing and additive manufacturing are becoming increasingly essential in the aerospace sector because they enable engineers to generate physical models of their ideas rapidly and efficiently. These technologies allow speedier prototyping and testing and the creation of end-use parts. Many CAD software systems, including CATIA, Inventor, and Autodesk, now support 3D printing.
Here’s some software solutions that aerospace engineers use to to additive manufacturing.
Stratasys is a leading manufacturer of 3D printing systems and materials for aerospace industry. It offers a range of 3D printing systems for prototyping and small-scale production of aerospace components, including FDM and PolyJet systems.
Benefit: Stratasys 3D printing systems can produce aerospace parts with complex geometries and high-resolution details.
Limitation: 3D printing materials and systems can be expensive, and the technology may not be suitable for large-scale production.
Ultimaker Cura is a free, open-source 3D printing slicing software that can be used to prepare 3D models for printing. It is compatible with most 3D printers and can be used to customize and optimize the settings for the 3D printing process.
Benefit: Ultimaker Cura is a powerful, yet simple, slicing software that can be used to prepare 3D models for printing with a wide range of 3D printers.
Limitation: It is not a CAD software and can only be used to prepare 3D models for printing, not to create or edit 3D models.
Valispace Can be Used by Every Aerospace Engineer
Valispace is a piece of software that assists aerospace engineers in connecting real-time requirements and the system model, enhancing traceability throughout the development process.
It provides an effective environment for aerospace professionals to communicate and manage their projects. Aerospace professionals can easily manage and track their projects with its comprehensive design tools, ensuring that all relevant standards are satisfied and that their designs are optimized for performance and safety.
Valispace’s user-friendly interface facilitates simple communication and cooperation among team members, making it an excellent choice for aerospace projects requiring coordination across many teams and departments.
Valispace’s capabilities may also be adjusted to meet the specific demands of individual projects, and its team is available to discuss customized requirements and analyze their appropriateness for your project.
Contact Valispace’s staff to learn more about their services or to set up a consultation.