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Contour Premium Aircraft Seating Reaps the Benefits of HyperWorks Enterprise Simulation Suite to Reduce Development Costs and Drive Innovation


UK-based aircraft interior manufacturer remains ahead of the competition by employing HyperWorks to significantly reduce luxury aircraft seating weight.

Altair Engineering, Inc., a leading global provider of technology and services that empowers client innovation and decision-making, announced today, that aircraft business and first class seating manufacturer, Contour Premium Aircraft Seating has successfully applied the HyperWorks enterprise simulation suite to deliver superior passenger comfort solutions. Contour takes full advantage of the breadth of solutions offered through HyperWorks CAE suite including: HyperMesh and HyperView for finite element pre and post-processing, OptiStruct for structural optimization, and MotionView and MotionSolve for multi-body dynamics simulation. HyperWorks has helped enable the company to create truly innovative, lightweight seating solutions for their global aircraft carrier customers allowing them to stay ahead of their competitors in a highly competitive market.

“Having prior career experience with HyperWorks, when I moved to Contour to help improve their finite element analysis (FEA) capabilities, it was a natural choice to recommend the CAE suite,” said Huw Jones, senior stress engineer for Contour Premium Aircraft Seating. “We started off using HyperMesh for pre-processing tasks. After realizing the model building efficiencies gained from the software, we expanded its use considerably. HyperMesh is the quickest and most flexible FE pre-processor that we’ve ever used; in fact one of our engineers who had over 10 years experience with an alternate solution was able to complete model creation tasks significantly quicker in HyperMesh and that’s including the training period!”

The volatile nature of fuel prices has forced the aerospace industry to make weight a high priority focus. With every kilogram of weight contributing to the running costs of an aircraft to the carrier, minimizing weight throughout Contour’s product line is vital to their position as a value-added, preferred aircraft seating supplier. HyperWorks’ optimisation technology has been deployed by Contour to meet these challenges and enhance their development process.

“The weight reduction exercise for first class seating we deal with can be extremely challenging due to the integration of numerous items of equipment that ensures a premium and comfortable seating environment,” continued Mr Jones. “To deal with these issues more efficiently we adopted the HyperWorks optimization technology, in particular OptiStruct, for all topology and gauge optimization projects. We use the technology on component level sub-models to reduce the overall seating system weight, and by using Optistruct we can ensure the optimised design solution suits all load cases.

“The combination of pre- and post-processing, optimization and multi-body dynamics solutions within HyperWorks, has also allowed us to significantly reduce our physical testing during the certification process and perform more design iterations,” he adds. “The cost of a single first class or business class seat is very significant so minimizing the need to physically build and crash test the products is vital. Virtual design technology allows us to cut this cost significantly with the initial investment for HyperWorks having already paid for itself.”

“I am pleased to see Contour Premium Aircraft Seating fully maximizing the power of the HyperWorks enterprise suite,” said David Mason, Managing Director, Altair UK. “Its deployment has ensured that each passenger aircraft seating solution the company provides is first class and meets or even exceeds the requirements of their customers. The focus on fuel and energy saving within the aerospace market has forced suppliers to make optimization a core part of the development cycle and HyperWorks has proven to be the tool to deliver.”

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Date: July 22, 2010