1999 to be a good year for RP and related technologies!

From: Monica & Glenn Whiteside (SiderWhite@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Mon May 10 1999 - 06:11:03 EEST

Dear rp-ml:

Just read an article on Boeing and their Airplane Creation Process Strategy
(ACPS) and how they want to slash the cost of developing a new airplane from
$7 billion USD to $1 billion USD and the time from 5 years to 1 year. They
want to follow NASA's mantra of "faster, better, cheaper" (although perhaps
too much of this, e.g. spreading experienced people and resources too thin,
can cause real problems such as the recent Delta launch catastrophes).

Perhaps now Boeing management will realize what an asset they have in their
RP labs and employees and treat them more like equal partners rather than
liabilities relegated to obscure and underfunded labs. Although a little
late, as most hindsight is, perhaps Boeing's top management have learned
that RP is a very valuable tool which needs to be wisely utilized and its
use expanded, not cut. They want to reduce the amount of wind-tunnel
testing they are doing. With RP models they could do a lot of inexpensive
preliminary concept designs and test them in water tunnels first ($50/hour
vs. $700/hr+). Also RP models are a relative bargain when it comes to
marketing and customer models which is where the rubber really meets the
road first. If customers and/or marketing do not approve of the concept
design first why even go further with the design? The preliminary stage is
where you need to nail down as much of the design characteristics as
possible, not redesigning it as you go (although some of this always seems
to be inevitable based on changing customer and market demands, but the goal
is to minimize it and keep the "out-the-door" schedule moving).

Hopefully this long awaited "wake-up" call by a big company like Boeing will
stir other companies to look for better and faster ways to optimize and
reduce their design cycle times and costs, hopefully providing a nice boost
to the RP community in the process.


Glenn Whiteside

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