Alpha-SIM: A quick 3D geometry model simplification approach to support aircraft EWIS routing

Zaoxu Zhu, G. La Rocca, Yao Zheng, Jianjun Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Routing design of aircraft Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS) is time-consuming and error-prone. A solution, which automatically routes the EWIS inside the aircraft Digital MockUp (DMU), has been proposed and presented in the previous publications. The DMU, however, includes over-detailed features, which hardly influence the routing results but significantly increase the geometry-involved computational time thus hampering any automated routing. These features cannot be easily and efficiently suppressed. Therefore, a quick 3 D geometry simplification method, named Alpha-SIM, is proposed to enable a quick simplification of the airframe components included in the DMU and improve the benefit of the aforementioned automatic EWIS routing approach. The method is inspired by Descriptive Geometry techniques and the 3 D modelling approach using 2 D sketches, and aims at removing very detailed and/or internal features while preserving the intuitive notional shape of the given CAD model. The intuitive notional shape is represented by a 3 D point cloud of the model outer boundary and their 2 D projections on user-defined planes. These 2 D projections are then processed such to generate a set of 2 D profiles, called Alpha-Shapes, which are used, eventually, to re-build the 3 D model of the DMU components in a simplified/de-featured manner. By controlling the density of the 3 D points and the Alpha value to generate the 2 D profiles from the point projections, various geometric approximation levels can be achieved. The results of the test cases demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed method on the geometry simplification for automatic EWIS routing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-660
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • 2D alpha-shape
  • Aircraft EWIS routing
  • CAD
  • design automation
  • geometry simplification


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