Belgian aerospace manufacturer SONACA is to use bullx® supercomputers from Bull for its sizing calculations on aeronautical and space structures. More than ever, this makes Bull the strategic IT partner for this hi-tech company, based at Gosselies in the town of Charleroi.
Aeronautics is one of the main areas where HPC solutions are widely used with supercomputers that are powerful enough to run especially demanding calculations and simulations. As a global player in the aeronautical industry, specializing in the design, manufacture and certification of highly complex aerospace structures, SONACA recently bought a Bull HPC solution that enables it to run all the calculations needed for the theoretical validation of all structural elements. This means the manufacturer is able to simulate the behavior of high technology aerospace structures, such as the leading edges of aircraft wings, to identify and correct potential weak points in these structures, and to calculate their impact resistance, especially when it comes to bird strikes.
“We are relying on Bull to deliver and implement an HPC solution. The bullx supercomputer has been developed using Open Source and is optimized for a Linux platform running on Intel processors. This has enabled us to increase our computing capacity while also migrating to a more scalable and flexible solution that costs less and is more powerful,” explains Bernard Bury, SONACA’s IT Director.
“Supercomputing a key area of Bull’s strategy,” confirms Saskia Van Uffelen, CEO of Bull Belux. “Recently, Bull has won a number of HPC contracts that recognize our position as a key player in this market. Bull is also one of the few IT makers in the world to have delivered three Petaflops-scale supercomputers in 2011.”
With this project at the heart of SONACA’s core business, Bull is more than ever a leading IT supplier to the Belgian aerospace manufacturer. “Gradually, over the course of a collaboration that began in the early part of the last decade, Bull has successfully shown that it is a value-added systems integrator that offers solutions which suit our infrastructure and our needs, as well as proving that it has the necessary flexibility. Over time, a real partnership has been established,” continues Bernard Bury.
Bull has effectively proved itself to be a major partner in the overhaul of SONACA’s information systems, playing an important role in meeting its twin aims of improving IT costs and optimizing its technical platform. Most notably, Bull carried out the migration and was closely involved in the standardization of all the company’s business systems onto on a single Unix platform, Bull Escala running AIX®, including the storage platform that supports SONACA’s SAP applications, among others. In a different field, Bull has also been involved in replacing the IT infrastructure used for PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) applications, including Escala servers and storage.
Bull has also been active on the application front. For example, it has implemented a Web Open Source application server (based on JBoss) “which not only met our functional requirements but also our need to make cost savings”. Bernard Bury also highlights a project, currently being rolled out, aimed at replacing an existing well-known document management solution with the eXo-platform suite; a comprehensive enterprise content management solution developed in Open Source but also benefitting from the guaranteed support and maintenance services provided by Bull. “This solution also offers a social networking-type module that SONACA has decided to try out, with the idea of stimulating interactions between its engineers worldwide.”
SONACA is an aerospace construction company located in Belgium. It is the parent company of a group of companies located in Brazil, Canada, the USA and, most recently China, employing around 2,000 people worldwide. Its core business is the development, manufacturing, assembly and test of aerospace structures and their associated subsystems.
SONACA is a leader in everything to do with the design and manufacture of wing leading edges for large commercial aircraft, regional and business jets for major manufacturers including Airbus, Embraer and Dassault. SONACA is also active in major defense and space programs.
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