The Aerospace and Defence (A&D) industry’s manufacturing systems are discrete, complex, low volume and engineered and produced after an order is received (Engineer to Order). Engineer to Order products have high manufacturing costs and, as a result, are within a high-pressure industry with no room for errors. An ecosystem of suppliers, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), MROs (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Services), and consumers are part of this industry.
Air travel and defence trends have surged as the industry recovers, focusing on innovation and developing new technologies and solutions. These trends have been initiated through social, economic, political and technological shifts.
- Increased Aircraft Demand – Air transport demand is expected to grow 4% a year in the next ten years.
- The industry historically adopts new technology quickly (i.e. CAD) – But is slow to adopt analytics, automation, cloud services, IoT, etc.
- The industry is to become data-centric by adopting artificial intelligence and emerging machine learning. By 2025, aerospace will be a data-centric industry.
- Moving production closer to customers – Minimising overall production time and increasing the safety of delivering products. Extending time to incorporate feedback.
- Suppliers contribute more to production – from OEMs to assembly.
Over the past few years, the A&D industry has increasingly faced challenges. Given its complex ecosystem of stakeholders, pressure to maximise profitability and demands to improve operational efficiency. Below are several significant challenges that the industry continues to face.
- High Costs – Competition is high, prices are increasing, and demand for an increase in wages.
- Lack of visibility can raise inventory, affect service levels, and cause inefficient supply chains.
- Worker Crisis – The Aging Workforce and Consumer Demand require more than 25,000 new workers (engineers, factory workers, technicians). Only 1/10 of graduates from top aerospace engineering university programs choose to work at a major aerospace company. Companies must prioritize talent acquisition, becoming a more attractive workplace for incoming generations.
- Safely automating maintenance and production takes time, resources, and money.
- Digital world increases consumer expectations and requires new and complex integrations.
- Trust is a priority – Counterfeiting, recalls, and lack of transparency are the biggest obstacles.
- Complex supply chain – Need for transparency, trust and risk-sharing partnerships.
Value Proposition of Digital Transformation
So, what can digital manufacturing systems do to improve supply chain and factory efficiencies and overall business automation?
Digitising these processes improves visibility, enhances performance management, and predicts maintenance (decreasing unplanned downtime). Let’s discuss the statistics of implementing digital manufacturing, as mentioned by PTC.
- “70% of A&D companies see real-time aircraft health status monitoring and predictive intervention analysis being essential in the future”.
- “60% of manufacturers will rely on digital platforms that enhance their investments in ecosystems and experiences and support as much as 30% of their overall revenue”.
What else is to come from the digital implementation of artificial intelligence?
- Actionable intelligence will optimise design, manufacturing, and sustain products and processes.
- The ability to create multiple scenarios for factory operations through a digital twin will allow for agile manufacturing and optimisation of business processes.
CAD-IT Australia recognises the need for fast, scalable tools to manage product lifecycle. We believe in discovering opportunities to help our clients and offer forward-thinking digital solutions. Our digital solutions improve safety, product quality and overall customer satisfaction. Contact our team today to learn more about business automation in the Aerospace and Defence Industry.