Improve Part Search and Reuse in Aerospace & Defense Programs: The Path to Significant Productivity and Quality Improvements

According to industry analysts Aberdeen Group, the annual carrying costs of introducing a new part number range between $4,500 and $23,000 per item. When a designer or engineer decides to create a new part instead of searching to see whether it already exists, significant expenses can be incurred. In product development alone, new part designs have to be analyzed, validated, and prototyped, steps that can consume valuable R&D resources and delay time-to-market. Moreover, by making something new instead of utilizing tried-and-tested designs, new part development can increase the risk of problems related to quality and manufacturability.

Reusing existing parts instead of creating new is not a new problem. Most companies have put in place a system for doing so. But do companies realize the value of carrying over even small, high-volume standard parts? Carrying these parts can be astoundingly costly. For example, a large aerospace supplier discovered that 10% of the brackets required for a plane’s nose cone were identical. Reusing these parts led to 10,000 hours saved and reallocated to more high-value projects. Other savings were realized by avoiding testing, administration, sourcing, storage and other expenses. They saved about €500,000 in engineering capacity in only 2 months!

Clearly, by leveraging existing designs, every aspect of a manufacturing enterprise and extended supply chain—including product design, engineering, documentation, procurement, purchasing, manufacturing, inventory, distribution, service, sales, marketing, and management—will become more efficient, improving quality while accelerating time-to-market, which can lead to more satisfied and loyal customers.

But what’s the best way to carry over? There are a number of search applications on the market. Those based solely on shape have shortcomings, which limit their ability to meet the search needs of today’s manufacturing enterprises. Shape search packages typically support geometry searches from within the specific CAD, PLM, or software application, and fail to tap into an organization’s extended data trove of product information. Finding the CAD file is not enough, as it’s not possible to know whether that part was actually produced, or maybe only created by a student during a training period at the organization.

What’s really needed is a solution structured to search and capture information. A key aspect of Engineered to Fly, an industry solution experience for small and medium-sized aerospace companies, EXALEAD OnePart, provides the structure for users to search and capture all the relevant information to reuse parts. The powerful search capability finds the CAD file and gathers all existing part-related information no matter the format. The rich search capabilities add similarity, metadata, and semantic-linked documents and related information—through an integrated search experience that mirrors the manner in which popular Internet search engines and user-friendly ecommerce applications operate. Users throughout the organization, whether savvy with CAD technology or not, are able to quickly discover if a part exists by simply shortlisting the possible designs, comparing them, checking their similarity, navigating parent/child relationships, and assembling related documents to revitalize the product development enterprise.

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How Does OnePart Help Engineering?

Aberdeen estimates that 44% of an engineer’s time is spent searching for or recreating parts. With OnePart, designers and engineers will be more productive devoting more time to innovative new projects, delivering them faster. These productivity improvements will extend beyond product development while alleviating the informational demands on designers and engineers. Because colleagues in other departments do not need a CAD system to access data related to a part. they simply use their Web browser to quickly find any information they need to support other business functions. Users save time because it’s not necessary to contact product development for the information they need.

How does OnePart Help Manufacturing?

Incorporating an existing part that has already passed quality reviews into a new product is a “known quantity” for the manufacturing team. Personnel and manufacturing time are saved, as are time and costs incurred by tooling. These resources can be used to increase the volume of existing products or reallocated to other projects.

How does OnePart Help Procurement?

A less obvious beneficiary of reducing duplicate parts is the purchasing department. Purchasing personnel are able to search the ERP and associate its contents with documentation found in other systems. Reusing parts decreases stocking costs, leading to savings without damaging important relations with suppliers.

Engineered to Fly with EXALEAD OnePart Benefits

• Increased part reuse to speed program completion and part standardization
• Lower costs resulting from avoidance of duplicate part creation and release risk
• Higher engineering capacity to drive new innovation
• Enhanced performance to production and budget targets
• Increased quality and reduce time-to-market

Attending the Paris International Air Show? See EXALEAD OnePart featured as part the Engineered to Fly industry solution experience demonstrations.

Find out why the path to significant productivity and quality improvements starts with OnePart and Engineered to Fly. Based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Engineered to Fly ensures repeatability and reusability, allowing companies to reduce the time spent on tactical proposal management and freeing them to respond to more Requests for Quotes (RFQ) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) with improved accuracy on areas such as schedule and cost.
What kind of ROI is possible with Exalead OnePart? See the savings an aerospace company might achieve in this infographic.

Click to find out more information on Dassault Systèmes involvement at the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget.



A b-b tech marketer the last two decades, I create content and go to market strategies. My current role allows me to share stories from experts and customers around the world who create advancements in space, defense and aviation. #3DEXPERIENCEThree of my favorite things when I'm not working: travel, warm weather and spending time with family and friends.