Woodward to Tap IBM High Performance Cloud Services to Simulate Aircraft Component Design

IBM announced today that Woodward Control Solutions will access a high performance cloud environment from Nimbis Services and IBM to simulate and design aircraft components. With cloud-based simulation, Woodward will avoid building physical prototypes of its products and so deliver them to market 80 percent faster while generating half the waste from materials.

U.S. manufacturers are being challenged today by an unprecedented confluence of global events — financial crisis, global economic contraction, an automotive manufacturing base at risk and increasing competition from overseas. The Council on Competitiveness recently concluded that high performance computing has the capacity to drive innovation and make U.S. manufacturers and the nation more competitive.

Last year, Woodward, working with the University of Southern California’s (USC) Information Sciences Institute (ISI), was part of a supply chain-oriented pilot project to demonstrate this. The goal of the project was to explore how small manufacturers can effectively use high performance cloud computing environments for industrial design and modeling. Working with ISI, Woodward tapped in to the IBM Computing on Demand cloud center and found that high performance computing would help the company more accurately model the behavior of fuel nozzles designed for Pratt & Whitney engines.

Woodward designs and manufactures crucial jet engine components that help power more than 30 percent of the world’s passenger aircraft. Like many manufactures today, Woodward was attempting to use desktop solutions to design its products, which inhibits innovation and forces manufacturers to rely more on physical prototyping.

The pilot project found that high performance computing would enable Woodward to effectively simulate the development of new products instead of building costly and time consuming physical prototypes, saving the company $275,000 per engineer per year by making them 76 percent more productive while enabling the company to reduce risk and make the manufacturing process 80 percent faster. Woodward should also generate 50 percent less scrap waste.

Based on the success of this pilot, Woodward will employ cloud services from IBM using Nimbis Services’ ecommerce Cloud Portal to simulate and design aircraft components under a manufacturing yield improvement innovation contract from the Defense Logistics Agency, which promotes innovative manufacturing technology and projects under the Industrial Base Innovation Fund (IBIF). The Nimbis ecommerce Cloud Portal will provide Woodward with a private cloud portal and billing system through which it will rent resources in a secure IBM Computing on Demand cloud center and access Ansys simulation software.

Woodward serves as a prime example of where the manufacturing industry needs to go. The U.S. risks its manufacturing leadership position if it fails to utilize the game-changing tool of high performance computing for modeling, simulation, and analysis, according to the Council on Competitiveness.

"In collaboration with Nimbis, IBM’s Computing on Demand cloud centers allow businesses of all sizes and types across the country to tap into the power of supercomputing and use it to their competitive advantage," said Bob Graybill, CEO and President of Nimbis Services. "This, in turn, boosts the competitiveness of our country by providing our industries the analytics and insights they need to out-compete at a global level."

Nimbis and IBM will replicate the success of their work with Woodward to 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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