When a major change of design direction made previous work redundant, ATK met the the challenge by moving from a classical to digital process.
“When NASA came to us and said they wanted to change direction, it was an eye-opener to discover that we had made a significant investment that suddenly had little to no value. Despite the fact that the SLS boosters were based on the Ares design, the differences were large enough that they would have required starting from scratch by constructing a new prototype, new spreadsheet, and new drawings. Very little from the previous project was reusable. We were also conscious that our previous methods were very labor-intensive, so when we discovered that our next project would be equal in magnitude yet would have to be done with less manpower, we realized we needed to improve our process – and do it quickly. We decided to develop a digital approach that was less labor-intensive and would enable us to more easily adapt to change,” says Nathan Holyoak, Engineer PLM Processes for ATK.