Why using 3D models in aerospace?

What are the domains using 3D models in aerospace? What are the benefits from using 3D models? 

If this is the first time you read about digital mock-up click here for more explanations about this subject.

Domains using the 3D model (digital mock-up)

In aerospace industry, the digital mock-up is used in different domains during product lifecycle: engineering especially in design, manufacturing and maintenace.


In design, the 3D model ( or digital mock up) is used in different subdomain: ergonomics, Assembly and structure surface validation, Stress analysis, system installation , assembly and disassembly simulation, Repairability, Kinematics and son on….


Designers use the 3D models in order to define the cockpit layout, to install equipements such as seats and emergency exit,etc..That helps to study the different possible scenarios of installation, so, to optimise the cockpit design in term of security, quality and cost.

cockpit interior


The 3D models help to avoid erros during assembly, knowing that, manufacturing parts is decentralised, errors may have a heavy consequences, so , the role of 3D models is to help engineers to validate assemblies and Structure against Systems interface, to have better visualisation without using physical mock up.

structure, system interface and assembly

Stress Analysis

In mechanical study , performing FEM (Finite Element Model) is crucial , some design softwares allow  to perform thoses analysis such as Alias by Autodesk , that helps to reduce lead time of finite element analysis and results allowing to optimise the weight of the aircraft.

Finite Element Model


Kinematics analysis help to study the Interface detection between one moving and one static in order to: Swept volume analysis and installation control regarding the environment.


The 3D mock up is used for design of elementary parts and assembly jigs in order to
Check consistency between tooling and aircraft ,Management of the subcontractors deliverables,and for Kinematics of jigs simulation performance.

tooling model vs physic

Manufacturing plan preparation

Industrial process design is a main task withing manufacturing processes, the 3D models are used in order to help designers to:

  • Define assemblies based on process operations
  • Follow the modification and visualisation of several technical solutions
  • Use of 3D Mock-up for technical documents, shopfloor illustration
Layout design

Quality (Control)

The 3D models are used in order to :

To measure the physical dimensions and to compare them with the digital mock-up.
To certificate the work done directly with the definition model
To assemble by measuring process (real time dmu checking).

This helps to have reliability between physical and digital mock-up.

Mock-up review

the purpose is to make sure that

  • the technical lists are coherent and to validate
  • the assembly process in partnership with all the industrial design process team members

This helps to detect eventual problems earlier than manufacturing shopfloors stages.

Maintenance and Support

The pupose behind is to :

  • Analyse aircraft servicing at the airport
  • Exploitation cost calculation
  • Identification and definition of the GHS (Ground Handling & Servicing) needed: cargo loader, bridge, trolley, catering and cleaning vehicle,…
  • To guarantee the aircraft’s exploitation feasibility

This helps to have Better productivity on ground: sequencing optimisation, security zone validation, impacts prevention

Maintainability analysis

The 3D model is used in order to:

  • To take into account inspection requirements
  • To verify the easy accessibility of the repair parts
  • To book space for maintenance with Design Office
  • Definition of maintenance sequences Customer Focus Group
Maintainability analysis

Autodesk offers software for design , concurrent engineering, collaborative engineering and so on…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.