A Winning Design
September 26, 2013

A Winning Design

SAN FRANCISCO and VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY, FRANCE — Dassault Systèmes, the 3Dexperience Company and leader in 3D design software, 3D digital mock-up and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, revealed that Oracle Team USA, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010 and 34th America’s Cup winner in late-September 2013, used its 3Dexperience platform to bring the team’s AC72 racing catamaran from concept to reality – and to the winner’s stage.

Dassault Systèmes' innovative 3D software applications boosted Oracle Team USA's collaboration throughout the development process, enabling designers to quickly and easily make changes to the 72-foot racing yacht in order to optimize and perfect its performance. In addition, Dassault Systèmes' 3D modeling application enabled Oracle Team USA to render the entire catamaran and review it as a whole rather than piece-by-piece.

"After the AC72's capsize last month, we've seen how crucial it is that every member of our team be involved in reviewing and adjusting the AC72's design, sharing their expertise and direct experience to help the catamaran perform better. This boat's design was essential to our successful defense of the America's Cup, and it came through remarkably well," said Christoph Erbelding, Structural Design - Senior FEA Analyst, Oracle Team USA.

Sail Production Oracle Team

Erbelding continues: "To enable that collaborative process we needed a strong, reliable solution that allowed the entire team - including sailors and designers - to show the full model in meetings, zoom in to highlight certain parts, simulate how they would work, give feedback and make changes in real time. Dassault Systèmes gave us those capabilities and we rarely had meetings without its tools on screen. As a result, we cut our drafting time by almost 50 percent."

Settling upon the industry's only integrated composites design, simulation and manufacturing solution, Oracle Team USA chose Dassault Systèmes' 3Dexperience platform applications to design and simulate the boat's composites layups, which are critical to optimizing its strength/weight ratio. Every ounce counts when designing a racing vessel. From riggings to sails, hundreds of individual parts have to work together properly so that the boat remains fast and light. Composite materials are increasingly utilized by many industries due to their beneficial properties and the ability to tailor their response as needed.

Oracle Team USA wing assembly

3D virtual design also allowed Oracle Team USA to virtually test every aspect of the AC72's design before committing real-world resources to building it. This ensures that better decisions are made and that the development process and associated feedback cycles are fast and efficient - and can influence design earlier in the development cycle. 3D models and simulation help the boat's crew quickly and easily review designs in a realistic virtual environment, allowing them to see if there are items that need to be moved or reworked, or if sightlines need to be adjusted. All this is done before the boat hits the water. Using digital manikins to simulate how team members would interact while they manned the boat also saves time that can be used to further refine the design.

"The move from a four-year America's Cup cycle to a three-year cycle put a great deal of pressure on Oracle Team USA - pressure to design the racing catamaran quickly, efficiently and accurately," said Monica Menghini, Executive Vice President, Industry and Marketing, Dassault Systèmes. "With this added pressure and compact schedule, Oracle Team USA needed our 3Dexperience platform to establish global unified collaboration, shorten the design and development phase and simulate key occurrences in a virtual world. These types of marine and offshore industry experiences, delivered to leaders such as Oracle Team USA, illustrate Dassault Systèmes' continuing commitment to the marine and offshore industry."

View the video of the AC72 in action during its first trials in San Francisco Bay below: