A systems approach to large-scale modification projects : an aircraft cabin reconfiguration case study
Chua, Sheng Long
Date of Issue2016-07-01
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The approach and concepts of Systems Engineering is applied extensively in complex large-scale projects in the Aerospace industry such as aircraft design and space systems projects. The process of development of a project typically goes through the "Vee-model" to assess the needs of various stakeholders and derive system requirements. The architecture is designed and the system is developed based on the architecture. Modifications of the system after implementation are carried out based on the existing architecture for assessment of interface and relationships between subsystems. Extensive and in-depth studies have been done on the approach and methods to implement the concepts of Systems Engineering to such projects. There is less work on applying Systems Engineering concepts to modification projects, which can also be large-scale and complex. However, modifications on a system may not always have an existing architecture to refer to, due to restriction of access (e.g. 3rd party vendors), or unavailability (e.g. legacy systems). Challenges to modification projects include, interfaces between the existing and new components of the system; constraints being placed upon the existing system; the implementation of modem equipment on older platforms; as well as having new requirements imposed by authorities or users on the old systems. With these challenges, the approach to such projects is different from new development projects in application of the concepts of Systems Engineering. This study aims to develop a framework on the Systems Engineering approach of modification project, emphasizing the areas that needed to be planned and worked on that are different from new development projects. The motivation for large-scale modifications usually includes residual value for the legacy systems, making modification projects a work of"creating new system from old system". This study will proceed to use aircraft cabin reconfigurations as a case study for the application of the framework. A commercial aircraft cabin can undergo modification for upgrades, replacement of worn components or total change in operations. A typical aircraft cabin modification project involves several subsystems ranging from the field of mechanical, electrical and structures. Typical constrains including the primary structures of the aircraft and some existing electrical and mechanical systems that had to be retained. Certification of these projects may also need to fulfil the latest aviation requirements that were not required in the legacy platform.