Thursday, October 12, 2006

V4 vs V5

It seems like there has been a fair amount of discussion about the Dassault V4 and V5 suites recently. (e.g. here, here, and (sort of) here) But no one really seems to explain what the difference is, and why it matters so much. Here's my attempt, as I understand it.

The Dassault V4 suite is primarily geared to producing drawings of what will eventually be built. Yeah, they are often in three dimensions, but it's still essentially drawings. In contrast, the V5 suite is geared towards producing models of what you are building. Everything is geometry that can be used in various ways, for instance, for simulation, for manufactoring producability, etc. If Germany was in V4 and France was in V5 in a recent problem, I'm actually surprised it's only as "small" as it is. Imagine one group bringing a bunch of drawings and sketches to a meeting, and the other group bringing a bunch of models and mock-ups in three dimensions. It's not at all clear that the critical integrations ("Does your wire harness (drawing) fit around my body rib (model)" for instance) can even be done.

There's a little more about the Dassault suite that I don't think I can really talk about, in terms of making the integration a little harder. From my perspective, it seems like Boeing has an edge over Airbus, in terms of proprietary software that helps with the integration challenge.


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