Rooms for improvement Immersive Development technologies yield quick solutions across Boeing By Eric Carlson and photos by Bob Ferguson As a former soldier, Boeing’s John Chicoli knows how important it is to keep the company’s military programs on schedule—so they can deliver critical equipment and capabilities to warfighters. Chicoli is program manager for Phantom Badger, a vehicle designed to carry warfighters and their equipment across challenging terrain, and which can be quickly transported inside the V-22 tilt-rotor and other aircraft. So when Phantom Badger was going through an accelerated modification program and Boeing’s partner needed a proposed part made to check its fit, Chicoli knew he needed to get it there quickly. Only 16 hours after the design for the part was sent to Boeing, a newly “printed” part arrived at Boeing partner MSI Defense Solutions in North Carolina, ensuring the program continued to remain on schedule. The part was printed in St. Louis using additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, by the Immersive Development (ImDev) team in Phantom Works. “When you’re building these parts,” 36 Frontiers August 2014 explained Chicoli, “you have to have them right the first time, or it slows you down and costs more money. Tools like Immersive Development allow us to get it right.” Additive manufacturing is just one of the many technologies and capabilities the Immersive Development team is deploying across Boeing programs. “We currently have 16 capabilities in our portfolio,” said Dan Seal, Immersive Development program manager. “Some of the key capabilities are actual immersive collaboration rooms that bring people together physically. We’ve deployed 45 of those to programs to date.” Each of these rooms is tailored for the specific program, the specific team and where each program is in its life cycle. The rooms range from very small ones that hold four to six people, to PHOTO: (Foreground) Bailey Schevers, left, and Derek Joseph analyze a model in the Mission Systems lab, as team members collaborate in the background.
Frontiers August 2014 Issue
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