Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems is the lead site for Lockheed Martin's Fighter Enterprise, the combination of the fighter expertise and capabilities from throughout Lockheed Martin.
Tom expects that he and his colleagues will eventually use the software to estimate between five and 10 proposals, 10 to 20 trade iterations, and two or three ECPs per month.
Proposal estimates can be reduced from one to two days to two hours.They review proposals from vendors to double-check their cost estimates as well.When the plug-in is available, estimates that previously took an hour should be available in minutes.They can now be done in one-half day.The company's seer-MFG provides a framework for estimation and has the capability of accepting custom cost models as plug-ins.It normally takes between 10 and 20 minutes to search for a single component.An estimate involving an entire 8,300-pound airframe configuration and several thousand parts recently has been performed using the historical grass roots estimate method.The software does historical research and generates the estimate.Work is underway to develop such an interface.The analyst enters the cost parameters that provide all of the information needed to create the cost estimate, such as length, width, thickness, material type, weight, finish, and fastener count.Using seer-MFG, they can be done in 10 hours.For example, information about an existing bulkhead that takes 50 hours to machine and 25 hours to sand is entered into the cost estimating program.
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Instead of searching through data files for costs of similar parts already in production, cost analysts enter cost-related characteristics from a CAD model into the MFG program.
Using seer-MFG spares the analyst from manually searching a database for comparison information.
The airframe cost estimate will have to be repeated multiple times in the future, such as when a change to the outer mold line of the aircraft affects the geometry of almost all the 5,000 parts in the assembly.The analyst uses the catia data to obtain cost characterization information, which he downloads into a spreadsheet.Using this approach, the analyst arrives at the predicted cost of the fuel tank assembly in two hours."We need a cost characterization interface that will apply the majority of the mundane cost characteristics, such as length, width, and material thickness automatically Tom says.The item needing an estimate was a 30-pound assembly consisting of castings, forgings, and sheet metal parts that had been modeled in catia.Design trade studies require analysts to evaluate multiple combinations of design alternatives, so they take two to five times as long as estimating the cost of a single assembly.For an assembly of a dozen parts, it takes about one day to generate a cost estimate.In addition to estimating the cost of airframe components and assemblies at the conceptual, preliminary, prototype, and detailed design stages, they also evaluate design trades and ECPs.