Design systems and tools

Design systems and tools


Critical to Rolls-Royce’s ability to produce optimised, efficient and cost effective products are the design system and tools we develop and use. These cover a wide range of capabilities including modelling of fluids, structures, systems and costs.

The Rolls-Royce Engineering System (RRES) is a system of tools, processes and ways of working, which will harness the power of Computer Aided Design (CAD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational  Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes, in conjunction with new techniques for cost engineering, manufacturing process modelling, complex system modelling and process automation to allow robust engine optimisation prior to customer commitment, and entry into the product realisation phase with managed risk.

Design systems and tools

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“Creativity is thinking new things. Innovation is doing new things”

Theodore Levitt,
Emeritus Professor
Harvard Business School

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Rolls-Royce uses Computational Fluid Dynamics codes to simulate the flow of fluids in and around all products, including  the flow of air through all components of our diesel or gas turbine engines and their installations.
Rolls-Royce actively develops its own simulation codes HYDRA and PRECISE in the UK and US and works with a number of leading universities.

The HYDRA code is able to simulate the three-dimensional unsteady flows through an engine using sophisticated models of turbulence, some of which are able to capture the fine-grain chaotic structure of the turbulence.

This requires the use of very large computers and HYDRA is able to utilise PC clusters of 1000’s of processors. Most of Rolls-Royce’s products now make full utilisation of the 3D design space and HYDRA has been used extensively in the design of recent RR products such as the Trent 1000.

Finite element analysis (FEA)

Finite Element Analysis is the cornerstone of Mechanical Analysis and Simulation technology and is utilised from Preliminary Design through to In-Service Support and on Individual components through to Whole Engine Models.

FEA is used directly for: stress, structural, life, vibration, dynamics, thermal, thermo-mechanics, aeromechanics, optimisation and robustness analysis. The specific FEA technology developed by Rolls-Royce is approved by the Certification authorities for producing Life, Integrity & Certification Statements.

FEA is one of the most widely used technical capabilities in Rolls-Royce (second only to Computer Aided Design)

  • ~80 000+ runs/month (~1,000,000 runs/year)
  • Globally ~1 600 users, ~450 full-time equivalent
  • Finite Element analysis accounts for over 60% of all in-house code runs on Rolls-Royce’s UK network.

LSDyna/SC03 Whole Engine Thermo-Mechanical Model

This is the primary Rolls-Royce internally developed FEA tool

  • It is an automated, physics-based FE Modelling system
  • It is fully integrated with our CFD, performance and  air systems
  • It provides World-class capability for thermo-mechanical and lifing analysis

Cost methods

These are tools aim to understand and model the costs involved in producing components and products and how these costs can be “traded” to enable optimum business solutions to be designed concurrently in a timely and efficient manner. The tools can assess the impact of different materials, manufacturing processes and component sizes on the unit cost, and subsequently allow an optimum solution to be identified.

Knowledge management

Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) is the use of advanced software & Artificial Intelligence techniques to capture & re-use product and process knowledge in an integrated & more automated way. KBE applications utilise advanced data processing, CAD (computer aided design) and CAE (computer aided engineering / analysis) capabilities; and capture engineering logic and intent.

Using a KBE application engineers can generate and evaluate new designs for new requirements, knowing that the rules that determine the acceptability of the product, from design through to manufacture, have been applied consistently to ensure a robust solution.

In Rolls-Royce, KBE technologies have been used to:

  • automate the creation of design and manufacturing definitions (geometry) of complex components
  • automate the creation of complex finite element (mesh) models
  • integrate design, analysis, and manufacturing processes and computational technologies

Typical Process Improvements seen 10:1 productivity benefit and up to a 90 per cent reduction in the lead-time required to create geometry & finite element models.

Knowledge management includes the creation and capture of critical knowledge.  As such various methods exist to really understand the key issues in a design problem and as a result identify the best solution to satisfy the product requirements.  Tools used in Rolls-Royce include TRIZ and DRed.

Decision Rationale editor (DRed)

It is a software tool which facilitates a simple, user-friendly method of capturing rationale behind complex decisions in a graphical form. It can also be used for creating hierarchical functional models of complex systems and processes to clarify understanding of functions, flows and interactions. It is owned and controlled by Rolls-Royce plc and was developed in collaboration with the Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge University.

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