Airbus Helicopters

Oct 4, 2019 | Aerospace, Simcenter Amesim, Simulation Software

“Using thermal, hydraulic, mechanical and fuel equipment capabilities of Simcenter Amesim, we can create a model that enables us to accurately predict the fuel system’s behavior.”

Stéphane Amerio
Simulation Engineer
Airbus Helicopters

In 1993, NHIndustries, a joint venture between Airbus, Leonardo Helicopters and Fokker Aerostructures, started to design the NH90, a heavy military helicopter. Thirteen years later, it entered into service.
Today, the competition has become so fierce that helicopter manufacturers usually have no more than four years to develop their most sophisticated models.
The pace of technological change has markedly increased. As a result, manufacturers must make the right choices when designing increasingly complex systems.

They have to yearvalidate systems integration earlier in the development process by applying a collaborative modeling approach throughout the design cycle.


Investing in simulation

Airbus Helicopters, part of the Airbus Group, is Europe‘s leading fully integrated aeronautical company, known for its high-performing, cost-effective, safe and comfortable helicopters, such as the H160.

To maintain its leadership position, the company has invested in virtual testing to meet many needs along the development cycle, such as rapid prototyping, desktop simulation, real-time pilot-in-the loop simulation, test rig development and training solutions.

Airbus Helicopters’ simulation policy stipulates that, if possible, a unique model should be used for each component throughout the V-cycle.

To apply this simulation approach to physical system modeling, Airbus Helicopters needed a tool that was highly predictable and could be used to easily integrate models into the real-time environment. The company found such a tool in Simcenter Amesim™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Figure 1: The pilot project is aimed at validating the simulation approach in the H160 in order to reduce the fuel system test cycles by a factor of two for the next helicopter models

Reducing hydraulic system prototype costs

Airbus Helicopters has used Simcenter Amesim for hydraulic and air conditioning system simulation since 2007. In 2009, the company extended the use of Simcenter Amesim to thermo-hydraulic component and system modeling.
Prior to adopting Simcenter Amesim, specialists in the hydraulic and flight controls department at Airbus Helicopters were only able to obtain a quasi-static representation of the hydraulic system.

The majority of parameters were determined during the prototype testing phase. Moreover, these hydraulics models were incompatible with a broader co-simulation environment.

To take into account the behavior of the hydraulic circuit in real-time simulation, Airbus Helicopters previously built another model using a specification that a hydraulics specialist had prepared for a supplier

“Simcenter Amesim enabled integration specialists to create easily understandable models that can be shared within our organization. The unique model can be adapted to our analysis goal, and can be used for system design, controls validation, simulators and test rigs.”

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Simcenter Amesim

Mechatronic, model-based simulation software for the design of multi-domain systems and components

Simcenter Amesim is a powerful simulation and engineering design tool, developed by Siemens Software Industry and distributed by BSim Engineering.Use Simcenter Amesim to study the design of a component and its control, identify the ideal layout of a subsystem or check the integrated performance of several machine systems.