Digital Technologies to Rejig the Commercial Aerospace Industry—and How!
Airlines today are considered safer, more efficient, and with a highly skilled management team at the helm. Over the past few years, led by a significant rise in the number of people using air transport as their preferred mode of travel, the commercial aerospace industry has raked in record profits. Boeing’s market outlook has analyzed that these growth trends would continue for at least the next two decades predicts the need for 41,000 new aircraft valued at over $6 trillion.
Although the current boom in the aerospace industry augurs high revenue opportunities for OEMs, their suppliers, MROs, and their partners, these segments also face critical challenges that must be addressed to meet the market demands and to stay future-ready. These challenges include:
- High lead times and costs of new product development
- Environmental targets for low noise and emission levels
- Chinks in the supply chain
- Training new and ageing workforce
- Rising inventory management costs
- High maintenance costs arising out of unpredicted breakdowns
There are concerns that such issues can decelerate the growth path the industry is currently on. Like defense aviation, the commercial aerospace industry has a history of business innovation, technology leadership, and data-based operations. By imbibing advanced, customized digital technologies, it is possible to address the challenges that affect the sector’s pace of development.
Technologies in aero engineering
To reduce the development process and time-to-market for new products, design and manufacturing teams can leverage additive manufacturing techniques to help aerospace engineers create more innovative and light-weight components that cannot be economically fabricated using conventional design principles.
IoT coupled with certain other technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can help OEMs to produce more fuel-efficient engines. This is made possible by the analysis of sensor data collected by an IoT platform on parameters such as ambient temperatures, and thrust and weight of aircraft and wind speeds.
Transforming supply chains
With the widening range of aircraft designs, the supply chain for aerospace players is now a more tightly packed network of OEMs and suppliers. It is a massive ecosystem with multiple product variants moving through different parties, all trying to synchronize their work. Furthermore, with shorter product life cycles and unpredictable ramp-up/down periods, the industry needs a more systematic supply chain management. And blockchain technology could transform the process. With blockchain, enterprises can get a real-time digital ledger of transactions and consignments in their network. It can even prevent any substandard components from entering the network thereby improving safety and reliability factors.
Optimizing training and MRO
The aerospace industry can also build upon the usage of augmented and virtual reality technologies. While AR/VR has been incorporated in simulation training for years, they can be further leveraged to enable seamless workflows and higher productivity. Workers can access critical information and interact with senior engineers to complete complex technical tasks flawlessly. Such technologies reduce downtime and costs of production and maintenance.
An array of several other digital tools and solutions in forms of Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Digital Twin, drones, Cloud and design-led manufacturing can help aerospace companies to improve their production rates and reduce time-to-market. Engineering service providers offering such solutions are evaluated on the basis of their capabilities in new product development, solution/platform deployment across aircraft engine/structures/avionics, and support for testing, certification and MRO activities.
As a design, build, maintenance partner, Cyient helps clients leverage the strength of digital technologies and capitalize on the booming demands that characterize the A&D industry.
Download our whitepaper on Digital Technologies to Address Challenges in Commercial Aerospace Industry to learn more about the technologies ready to disrupt the aerospace sector.
By Gururaja Vittal | May 20th, 2019