Did you know that KBE (Knowledge Based Engineering) applications can drastically reduce aircraft design process by automating all the complex and repetitive activities that take up to 80% of engineers’ time? This computer-based technology allows recording (and thus reuse) engineering design knowledge by means of special programming languages. TU Delft, Fokker-GKN and Aerospace Engineering (AE) start-up ParaPy teamed up to organise the first ‘KBE challenge’ in June for AE students.

The top eight students from Gianfranco La Rocca’s MSc course on Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) were selected to complete in the KBE challenge. La Rocca’s KBE course teaches students the theory and practice of this computer-based technology and illustrates the opportunities it offers for accelerating design processes and thus improving engineers’ productivity. The course assessment is based on the quality of a KBE application that students develop using the ParaPy* KBE system, to improve the design process of a given aircraft system. This year it was about the design of a business jet rudder, for which Fokker-GKN provided design guidelines and methods.

During the challenge, in four teams of two, the students competed to deliver the best KBE application for an optimal cost-weight solution rudder design. The students were expected to take into account the relevant requirements from  a Fokker-GKN aircraft specification and modify and extend accordingly the KBE application they developed during the course. During the day the students were offered a tour of Fokker-GKN facilities and presented a number of possible internship and thesis cases dealing with KBE that are available within Fokker.

All teams had two and a half hours’ time to complete the challenge and present their results to the jury. The jury (Max Baan, Reinier van Dijk, Ton van der Laan, Gianfranco La Rocca, Martijn van Rij and Richard Cobben) judged the students’ performance  on the basis of their KBE code quality, the functionality of their application  as well as on the management/business perspective. The jury said the students’ work was “impressive”; students Lukas Muller and Pieter Jan Proesmans were the winners of the challenge.


*ParaPy is an Aerospace Engineering start-up (located at YES!Delft) and supplies the KBE system for La Rocca’s course.

Would you like more information about the KBE course and/or challenge? Please contact Assistant Professor Gianfranco La Rocca from the faculty of Aerospace Engineering: G.LaRocca@tudelft.nl.