AIA releases digital 3D standards

National Aerospace Standards can be output to more than 150 CAD and graphic formats

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is one of the most influencial standards developing organizationsOnce in a while, a technology comes along that changes the way we go about doing things for the better. While we used to have collections of records or CDs, we now carry our entire music library in our pocket. Where we used to go to Blockbuster to rent a movie, we now go online to Netflix to watch instantly on-demand.

There are countless consumer examples of revolutionary advancements that have reshaped our lives. In the world of aerospace manufacturing, the introduction and adoption of disruptive technologies often moves at much slower pace. The impact of innovation is often only realized over an extended period of time.

That's all about to change.

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is taking a giant step forward in revolutionizing the way industry standard parts are authored, distributed, and consumed. The AIA recently announced that its National Aerospace Standards (NAS) will be available in an authorized digital 3D catalog for the first time, in partnership with global information company, IHS Inc., and Cadenas PARTsolutions. The new 3D digital NAS promise to dramatically increase aerospace engineering and supply chain efficiencies.

"AIA has a long and proud history serving the needs of the aerospace and defense industry through our National Aerospace Standards program," says Marion C. Blakey, AIA president and CEO. "The AIA NAS 3D catalog allows us to provide solutions that will help the industry design and manufacture products faster and at a lower cost."

The aerospace industry and standards developing organizations (SDOs) have been wrestling with how best to address digital interoperability for years, says Rob Zesch, president and COO of CADENAS PARTsolutions LLC. Over the past decade, many digital standardization initiatives have been evaluated, but have been slow to take off.

Zesch worked closely with the AIA Director of Standardization Chris Carnahan to accelerate the project and make the first aerospace digital 3D standards a reality.

"The AIA is blazing the trail here. It's a huge step for the aerospace industry," says Zesch. "They stepped up and have set the standard for other SDOs to start offering their content in 3D digital format. It's what aerospace manufacturers demand to make their design process as efficient and accurate as possible."

Until now, the AIA NAS have only been available in paper or PDF format, creating challenges for engineers. CADENAS envisions a world where all other industry standards are available in 3D digital format. Zesch shared this vision with the world's leading SDOs at the Standards Publishing Advisory Board meeting in January and is currently in discussions with several SDOs about bringing their standards into the digital age.

Platform independence

Strategic Part Management PARTsolutions by CADENAS

The AIA conducted an exhaustive evaluation process prior to selecting CADENAS and its technology platform. The company was chosen from more than 30 vendors to author and publish the NAS digital standards because the output formats are "technology independent," Carnahan told attendees at the recent Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) conference in Orlando, Fla.

"We chose CADENAS mainly because of the capability to produce files that are compatible with so many different formats," Carnahan said.

The NAS 3D digital parts can be output to more than 150 native and neutral CAD and graphic formats, versions and revisions. Digital parts data from CADENAS also integrates with ERP applications like SAP as well as with the three leading CAD and PLM applications in aerospace and defense: Siemens NX & Teamcenter PLM software; Dassault Systèmes' CATIA & Enovia PLM; and PTC's Creo Parametric and Windchill PLM.

Standard parts management

IHS will distribute the NAS 3D digital catalog to subscribers of its Standards Expert product as well as an available parts catalog within the CADENAS PARTsolutions Standard Parts Management (SPM) platform. The SPM platform interfaces with CAD, PLM, and ERP systems to enable manufacturers to control their industry standard, company standard, and supplier standard parts across their supply chain.

Standard parts fall into 3 categories:

  • Internal Standards: Parts you make rather than buy. These are the reusable components that are fabricated and assembled along with purchased parts to make your final product or system.

  • Supplier Standards: Parts externally sourced and used with other parts in a complete product and bill of materials. For example, parts such as bearings, resistors, cylinders, switches, springs, connectors, and other off-the-shelf items that are typically purchased from a supplier to fulfill standard functions.

  • Industry Standards: These are parts manufactured in accordance with specifications and inspected for conformance by a standards body such as the AIA. These are usually fasteners such as screws, nuts, and rivets. They represent what is sometimes considered a commodity part and sourced from a variety of suppliers, often driven by price and availability.

Standard parts comprise 40% to 80% of most aerospace and defense products. Having visibility and control of all standard part types is mission-critical for design and manufacturing efficiency.

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