Composites Engineering

Recent advancements in the production and use of composites gives manufacturers a strategic opportunity to innovate to improve quality and lower costs. A benchmark study on the use of composites in automotive found significant benefits when compared to metal for reducing mass, decreasing part count, and lower tooling costs. There are also the benefits of increased resistance to damage and corrosion, and in some situations better dampening of noise and vibration.

While the benefits are well documented, the engineering of composites presents challenges. Designing and producing production-ready composite parts can be complex and expensive. Most engineering workflows treat design, analysis, and manufacturing as separate processes.

The value of a comprehensive solution

Dassault Systèmes offers CATIA Composites, a comprehensive solution for composites engineering, with design, analysis, and manufacturing all in the same virtual platform. There is a CATIA-based dedicated environment for designing composite parts and structures; SIMULIA provides specific simulation tools for composites engineering; DELMIA technology provides virtual manufacturing technology for planning, validation, work instruction authoring, and shop delivery.

Composites offer a challenge from a simulation and analysis standpoint. Their numerical definition is complex. Modeling often becomes a trade-off between number of parameters and computation time. CATIA Composites provides a complete set of material property datasets, allowing engineers to easily and quickly define detailed lay-ups.

A significant design challenge is the need to explore variations quickly during the initial design phase. CATIA Composites offers various design exploration methods, including Zone, Grid, and Solid Slicing for the automated creation of plies and to provide associativity between surface and composites parameters.

Composites material manufacturers are creating new substances all the time. Dassault Systèmes works closely with materials vendors and technology providers to keep CATIA Composites up-to-date. Working inside one comprehensive design solution means the complex data that defines composites does not have to be translated between CAD and simulation.

Roles and options

CATIA Composites offers six optional, specific role-based functions:

Composites Designer: For optimal design with manufacturing constraints guiding at even the earliest conceptual stages.

Composites Manufacturer: Embed all composites manufacturing constraints into design, simulate shop processes, and industrialize parts with process-oriented tools.

Composites Designer & Manufacturer: Offers all the tools of the separate modules in one user interface.

Composites Braiding Designer: Advanced braiding fiber simulation and visualization for faster design, fewer physical prototypes, and higher quality braiding of production parts.

Composites Engineer: The tools of the Designer and Manufacturer options, with more design parameters for working with structural parts. Includes simulation of shop floor processes.

Composites Lager Projection Operator: For creating and editing laser projection outputs.


Most CAD systems for product development were created with older materials in mind, and are not purpose-built for composites. Using the Dassault Systèmes comprehensive solution transforms composites engineering into a unified process, with tools specific to the task. It becomes easier to predict product behavior during design. Manufacturability is simpler because structural, assembly, and manufacturing requirements can be specified early in design. The software is capable of handling the large amount of data generated in composites engineering. Communication is efficient among stakeholders, preventing delays and errors.

Automotive and aeronautics are leading the use of composites in manufacturing, but other industries are also discovering their benefits. Composites challenge traditional design processes, with additional trial-and-error based on material and shape variations, increasing product development cycles and frustrating innovation. Dassault Systèmes has become a leader in composites engineering thanks to close collaboration with industry leaders and its commitment to providing an end-to-end solution in direct response to the challenge. The power of CATIA, SIMULIA, and DELMIA inside one solution makes it easier to reduce time to market while avoiding costly errors.