Aircraft seat designer applies simulation to improve comfort

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Contour Premium Aircraft Seating has used Altair Engineering's Hyperworks enterprise simulation suite to help the design of superior passenger comfort solutions. Contour is using several elements of the Hyperworks suite, including: HyperMesh and HyperView for finite element pre and post-processing, OptiStruct for structural optimisation, and MotionView and MotionSolve for multi-body dynamics simulation.

'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 realising 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 more than 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, minimising 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 Jones. 'To deal with these issues more efficiently we adopted the HyperWorks optimisation technology, in particular OptiStruct, for all topology and gauge optimisation 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.'