PLM software can also play a part in realizing very individual wishes. An example from the world of sailing is the development of the perfect catamaran, with which Land Rover BAR would like to take the America’s Cup back to the UK for the first time since 1851. Using PLM, the team headed by Sir Ben Ainslie, winner of the 34th America’s Cup, can simulate a range of geometries, analyze and test them, and find the right balance in terms of the demands of speed and stability. “Thanks to NX, we can test a hundred geometries at the touch of a button,” reports Andy Claughton, Chief Technology Officer of Land Rover BAR.
A further benefit for sailing professionals is the huge saving of time that would previously have been devoted to bureaucratic paperwork. The rules of the America’s Cup require participants to document the history of every component in terms of its constituent materials, their origin and manufacture. Teamcenter now generates this painstaking documentation digitally practically as a byproduct. Finally, the software even permits last-minute improvements: once the competition is underway, it is possible to check whether particular parts need to be replaced, removing that last grain of weight that could prove the deciding factor for victory.
Together, NX and Teamcenter enable a complete and comprehensive development process from concept to the surface of the sea. “The ability of NX to generate geometries quickly and easily is fundamental because every question we ask ourselves starts with geometry,” says Claughton. “Everything stems from a robust CAD model. Only then can we analyze weight and behavior; produce renderings to show the sailing team the controls and displays; or print plastic samples for the sailors and shore crew to check.” Teamcenter condenses everything into one single environment. “Now that we have a library of parts and established workflows”, Claughton continues, “we do not always have to start from scratch. Each boat moves on from the last and we frequently use the clone tool to clone particular parts or subsystems and quickly try out a different approach. From one baseline, we can run two or three different threads of development and then bring them back together.”
“This type of digital planning represents nothing less than the future of innovation,” says Grindstaff. “You need to know more than what has to be done with an innovative idea – you need to know how to deliver it. For this to happen, all users must be engaged with the right information at the right time and in the right context to enable them to take decisions quickly and accurately.” Grindstaff considers this information an essential element in being able to draw up smart models that will then optimize themselves on an ongoing basis. “The models have to know what requirements they must fulfill, and how to achieve that,” he says. “They have to understand that they are part of a complex system and are linked together within it.”