United Airlines Implements IBM Solution to Upgrade Safety

United Airlines has implemented CATIA Version 5 (V5) Solutions from IBM and Dassault Systemes to create and manage key engineering data relating to aircraft maintenance.

The decision to use a single CAD/CAM system was based on a strategic move to reduce production costs. This decision included the implementation of over 300 CATIA workstations. IBM business partner, INCAT, was selected by United Airlines to implement and deploy CATIA V5 solutions at United`s maintenance engineering sites.

The United Airlines engineering team will use the full range of CATIA V5 3D capabilities such as modeling, analysis, manufacturing, and review based on a digital mock-up (DMU) in various areas such as fleet engineering, component engineering, engine overhaul, tooling, general manufacturing, aircraft interior reconfiguration, and illustration creation.

In rapid response to the recent global requirement for upgraded safety in the aircraft industry, United Airlines used CATIA V5 for reinforcing existing cockpit doors. In just half the time normally required, the engineering team was able to re-design the door hardware, perform the required stress analysis, and generate manufacturing instructions.

“CATIA V5 significantly reduces design time and when such critical situations occur, we need to react very quickly. Not only did we gain in cycle-time, but creating the engineering data in 3D allowed us to verify fit and assembly at the design stage, ” said Greg Taylor, Director, Information Services Division - United Airlines. “Through a close partnership with Dassault Systemes and IBM, ours has become the first commercial aviation three-dimensional maintenance center in the world.”


As part of IBM and Dassault Systemes` 3D Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, CATIA is used to manage the lifecycle of products - from design, through production to maintenance. Ease of use, coupled with proven versatility within the manufacturing environment, have facilitated the deployment of CATIA within United Airlines.

“CATIA V5 offers ease of use for the engineers who are using 3D design for the first time, while offering the advanced functions, such as analysis and digital mock-up, that fully support maintenance processes. Combined efforts between United Airlines leadership and Dassault Systemes` technology will bring tremendous improvement in the After Market world.” said Philippe Forestier, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at Dassault Systemes.

United Airlines` information technology and engineering personnel have teamed with INCAT to implement and deploy CATIA V5 across all maintenance engineering sites, and to ensure a seamless migration of over 200 users and their data from five legacy CAD programs on mainframe and Apple MacIntosh platforms to a single Windows-based CATIA V5 environment.

“It was critical for us to successfully implement CATIA V5 this year, and minimize any impact to engineering productivity during the migration,” declared Adam Calmis, Manager - Engineering Services and Processes - United Airlines. “INCAT has been a key partner in this implementation, and we have been very pleased with the quality and timeliness of their support.”

“We are delighted to partner with United Airlines on this project, which is one of the largest production rollouts of CATIA V5 to date, and the first in the airline maintenance sector. Working with a dedicated United Airlines team, we were able to leverage our wide range of project management, engineering and systems skills to help meet the CATIA V5 implementation goals. We look forward to a continued relationship with United Airlines, Dassault Systemes and IBM,” commented Ulrich Herter, CEO of INCAT.

“IBM has worked closely with United Airlines in a number of information technology solution areas,” said Mike Hulley, General Manager, IBM Global Travel & Transportation Industry group. “Enabling UAL to improve productivity and shorten cycle times is a great example of the business value our customers can achieve using solutions from IBM and its Business Partners.”