Last, but certainly not least, we finish off the series with a snapshot into the future of aerospace. It’s always been a high tech industry, and with advancements in technology, changes are coming at a rapid pace. With the economic hardship of the pandemic, coupled with ongoing labour shortages, the industry has been hard pressed to find solutions, turning to technology and new materials to bridge the gaps.
Airbus developed a smart factory to be established by 2025, set to produce a new line of concept aircraft using cutting edge technology. For instance, the smart factory will utilize self-driving vehicles used in logistics and material handling, smart tools that assist with assembly, laser technology for parts assembly that gives better precision in less time and effort. 3D printing is already being used, namely by Airbus suppliers, in production of titanium brackets.
Pratt and Whitney Component Solutions in Singapore embarked on a three year program to digitize and boost MRO capabilities with artificial intelligence. The plant repairs combustion chambers, fuel nozzle injectors and guides, tubes, ducts and manifolds. The goal is to increase productivity and precision of engine maintenance. The system is anticipated to increase productivity by 80% and higher inspection quality. Part of these efforts also eliminates manual input of service orders and other administrative tasks, while also yielding large sets of data that are analyzed to determine how processes can be continuously improved.
NASA is continuously working on its all electric aircraft ( X-57 Maxwell) in efforts to develop a safe aircraft and pass on the technologies to private industry. Electric aircraft will likely encompass smart technology, too. There is already thought being given to aircraft that can detect and diagnose issues on its own, schedule its own maintenance, order its own parts, and choose where maintenance will be done. It’s not a farfetched idea, considering that Tesla vehicles detect necessary system upgrades, and can order new parts through dealerships.
These are just some of the developments in the industry, for an in-depth look and assessment of the impact on IAM members, check out our upcoming report on automation.
3D Printing: Customized Tools for Repair of High Tech Aircraft: YouTube Nov.6, 2018 by Ultimaker
 Chuanen, Chen. “ Pratt and Whitney’s Singapore Operations Get AI and Robotic Technology.” MRO Network. 1-3. Pg.1
 “ Smart airplanes anticipate repair needs.”
This article was originally posted on the IAM Canada website. View the original post here: Future of Work: The Aerospace Industry