Innovation Culture

Open SESAME: data science = rocket science 10-30-2020 |  4 minutes


SESAME: a European Union project to bring the best digital technologies into the heart of European launcher manufacturing and operation

ArianeGroup is leading a consortium of European companies and organizations to explore the best use of data science to boost Ariane 6’s competitiveness by supporting European cooperation in the field, under the three-year European Union-funded project SESAME: Smart European Space Access through Modern Exploitation of data science.

The aim is in the name: ‘smart’ means working together, sharing knowledge, and putting the emphasis on predictive rather than corrective processes.

A primary objective of SESAME is to develop a complete data management framework to proactively manage risks in new automated production and operations. This means creating a European-wide launcher industry ecosystem for knowledge exchange and implementation of new, more effective industrial processes with less risk and cost.

A first use case: FSW

ArianeGroup uses Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technology – a cutting-edge solid-state welding process – to join Ariane 6 parts together. This key process within Ariane 6 tank assembly operations needs to be controlled in terms of quality, time and cost. So how can ArianeGroup reduce the time it takes to weld a tank while also improving quality?

Within the framework of the SESAME project, multiple sensors on the FSW machine at ArianeGroup’s Les Mureaux site collect large amounts of data during operation. Every 100th millisecond, 1,500 variables (such as temperature, speed, or position) are registered.

These are then sorted and analysed by data scientists who apply algorithms to determine the “health status” of both the tank being welded and the FSW machinery. In this way, operators can be alerted to a non-quality or malfunction incident and intervene even before it occurs, guaranteeing improved quality and safety at lowered costs.