This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in one or more of the following: (1) manufacturing complete aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles; (2) manufacturing aerospace engines, propulsion units, auxiliary equipment or parts; (3) developing and making prototypes of aerospace products; (4) aircraft conversion (i.e., major modifications to systems); and (5) complete aircraft or propulsion systems overhaul and rebuilding (i.e., periodic restoration of aircraft to original design specifications).

Assembly Line

Finnair upgrades its Airbus A320 fleet with new 3D printed components

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Alex Tyrer-Jones

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: AM Craft, Finnair

Aviation manufacturing firm AM Craft is supplying 3D printed aircraft interior parts to commercial airline company Finnair.

The FDM 3D printed blanking panels will be installed into Finnair’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, replacing existing flip-down video monitors that are said to be heavy and outdated.

More than 300 of these 3D printed components are being delivered on a just-in-time basis, with Finnair looking to upgrade the Passenger Service Units (PSUs) of 17 A320s. The aviation firm believes this 3D printing strategy will minimize excess inventory and eliminate costs associated with its existing supply chain.

Read more at 3D Printing Industry

How United Airlines uses AI to make flying the friendly skies a bit easier

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Frederic Lardinois

🔖 Topics: Generative AI

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: United Airlines

When a flight is delayed, a message with an explanation will arrive by text and in the United app. Most of the time, that message is generated by AI. Meanwhile, in offices around the world, dispatchers are looking at this real-time data to ensure that the crew can still legally fly the plane without running afoul of FAA regulations. And only a few weeks ago, United turned on its AI customer service chatbot.

Not that long ago, it was rather typical to get a notification when a flight was delayed, but no further information about it. Maybe the incoming flight was delayed. Maybe there was a maintenance issue. A few years ago, United started using agents to write short notices that explained the delay and sent those out through its app and as text messages. Now, pulling in data from its chat app and other sources, the vast majority of these messages are written by AI.

Similarly, United is looking at also using generative AI to summarize flight information for its operations teams, so they can get a quick overview of what’s happening.

Later this year, United also plans to launch a tool that is currently called “Get Me Close.” Often, when there’s a delay, customers are willing to change their plans to switch to a nearby airport. I once had United switch me to a flight to Amsterdam when my flight to Berlin got canceled (not that close, but close enough to get a train and still moderate a keynote session the next morning).

Read more at TechCrunch

Inside Boeing’s Quality Control Process for 737 Max Planes

Southwest Airlines Powers Connected Equipment Solution with ThingWorx and Kepware

Cognitive robotics for advanced automated inspection

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership, Nondestructive Test

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Comau, Leonardo

Comau and Leonardo are working together to develop and test a powerful, self-adaptive robotic solution to autonomously inspect helicopter blades measuring up to 7 meters. The smart inspection solution has been developed as a joint pilot project and was tested on-site in Anagni, Italy, over the past year. The system may now move to another site to deliver enhanced capabilities for MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) services.

Leveraging a combination of cognitive robotics, advanced vision systems and artificial intelligence, the solution autonomously performs tapping tests and multispectral surface inspection along the non-linear blade, to measure and verify the structural integrity with a granularity exceeding thousands of points. More importantly, robotized inspection ensures 100% accuracy within the self-adaptive process and allows operators to upskill their positions while enjoying better safety and well-being compared to the initial repetitive and labor-intensive process. Furthermore, the move from manual to robotic automation will let Leonardo leverage the full benefits of process engineering compared to a manual operation in which experience is often passed between technicians in a non-standard way.

Read more at Comau News

Modern Aerospace Construction: The Manufacture of a Hightech Plane

The Tech Making Airport Towers Obsolete

🇯🇵 Toyota home ground becomes base for drone and space start-ups

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

Start-ups developing future forms of transport such as space planes, drones and flying cars are emerging in central Japan’s Aichi prefecture, home to Toyota Motor and its suppliers, driven by a sense of urgency to foster industrial momentum amid challenges from the arrival of electric vehicles.

The local government hopes to build on that momentum as it prepares to open a start-up incubation centre, Station Ai, in the prefectural capital of Nagoya in October. The facility, built and operated by SoftBank, plans to accommodate about 1,000 start-ups.

Read more at Financial Times

AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Florian Leutert, David Bohlig, Florian Kempf

🔖 Topics: Autonomous Production, In-orbit Factory

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Zentrum für Telematik, Technical University of Munich

With the ever increasing number of active satellites in space, the rising demand for larger formations of small satellites and the commercialization of the space industry (so-called New Space), the realization of manufacturing processes in orbit comes closer to reality. Reducing launch costs and risks, allowing for faster on-demand deployment of individually configured satellites as well as the prospect for possible on-orbit servicing for satellites makes the idea of realizing an in-orbit factory promising. In this paper, we present a novel approach to an in-orbit factory of small satellites covering a digital process twin, AI-based fault detection, and teleoperated robot-control, which are being researched as part of the “AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory” project. In addition to the integration of modern automation and Industry 4.0 production approaches, the question of how artificial intelligence (AI) and learning approaches can be used to make the production process more robust, fault-tolerant and autonomous is addressed. This lays the foundation for a later realisation of satellite production in space in the form of an in-orbit factory. Central aspect is the development of a robotic AIT (Assembly, Integration and Testing) system where a small satellite could be assembled by a manipulator robot from modular subsystems. Approaches developed to improving this production process with AI include employing neural networks for optical and electrical fault detection of components. Force sensitive measuring and motion training helps to deal with uncertainties and tolerances during assembly. An AI-guided teleoperated control of the robot arm allows for human intervention while a Digital Process Twin represents process data and provides supervision during the whole production process. Approaches and results towards automated satellite production are presented in detail.

Read more at arXiv

GKN Aerospace collaborates with Northrop Grumman on SMART Demo rocket test motor

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, Partnership, Laser Metal Deposition

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: GKN Aerospace, Northrop Grumman

GKN Aerospace selected by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) to provide advanced technology for the full-scale static test fire of NGC’s new SMART Demo. GKN Aerospace’s support included additive manufacturing (AM) technology from its new Global Technology Centre in Fort Worth, Texas. Large-scale laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w) process optimises product weight, ensures efficient use of high-cost alloys and significantly reduces lead times

Read more at GKN Aerospace News

Materialise, Proponent, and Stirling Dynamics Sign Letter of Intent to Provide Certified 3D-Printed Cabin Solutions

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Materialise, Proponent, Stirling Dynamics

Materialise NV (NASDAQ:MTLS), a global pioneer in 3D printing solutions and services, Proponent, the largest independent aerospace distributor, and Stirling Dynamics, an EASA 21.J-certified Aerospace Design Organization, have announced the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) aimed at providing certified cabin solutions for aircraft.

Stirling Dynamics, an Expleo company, strengthens an existing partnership between Materialise and Proponent that was formed in 2021. By combining their unique forces, the three companies can support the aerospace aftermarket with the design, production, and distribution of certified 3D-printed cabin solutions. As an aerospace-approved Design Organization (DOA), Stirling Dynamics develops improved, certified designs for 3D-printed interior cabin parts and provides complete aircraft documentation and installation instructions.

Together, Materialise, Proponent, and Stirling Dynamics aim to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing for cabin parts. Through the identification and design of smart 3D-printed solutions for OEMs, airlines, and MROs, this partnership seeks to give airline customers the possibility to easily leverage the unique manufacturing benefits 3D printing offers.

Read more at PR Newswire

IHI Demonstrates World’s Highest-Capacity Hydrogen Recirculation System for Aircraft Fuel Cells, Delivering Compactness and High Durability

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: IHI, Akita University, Sanei Kikai

IHI announces today that it has developed and successfully demonstrated an electric hydrogen turbo-blower, a large-capacity hydrogen recirculation unit that achieves the world’s highest hydrogen circulation volume in its class. This equipment was developed for use in aircraft fuel cells, and has succeeded in achieving a large capacity by employing an ultra-high-speed motor with a proprietary gas bearing.

This project is the fruit of collaboration with Akita University and Sanei Kikai Co., Ltd, which manufactures aircraft fuselage parts and manufacturing equipment in Akita Prefecture.

Read more at IHI News

Weeding Out Fake Parts: the Dark Horse of Killer 3D Printing Apps

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Matt Kremenetsky

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, Part Traceability

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Boeing, Assembrix, GE Aerospace

One possible killer app that has nonetheless fallen relatively under-the-radar is comprehensive traceability of parts. Last week, for example, a Bloomberg article provided an update on a story from late August, about the discovery of years worth of phony certification documents for subpar spare parts. The spares were distributed by a small, obscure supplier of aerospace components based in London, AOG Technics Ltd. The discovery has inflicted chaos on the world’s largest aerospace companies, including Airbus, Boeing, and Safran, as they scramble for ways to undo the damage.

Whatever short-term solutions the aerospace giants may stumble upon, the only long-term solution may be comprehensive digitalization of supply chains. In addition to the fact that additive manufacturing (AM) technologies are uniquely suited to achieve that objective, the feasibility of an approach based on digitalization is suggested by the corporate players involved. Over the last decade or so, the aerospace sector’s largest companies (the ‘primes’) have achieved — and indeed, to a great extent have helped innovate into existence — some of the highest AM competencies in the world.


🪱🤖 GE Develops Worm-Inspired Robot For On-Wing Engine Inspections

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Lindsay Bjerregaard

🔖 Topics: Condition-Based Maintenance, Nondestructive Test, Machine Health

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: GE Aerospace, SEMI Flex Tech, Binghamton University, UES

Resembling an inchworm, the Sensiworm (Soft ElectroNics Skin-Innervated Robotic Worm) uses untethered soft robotics technology to move easily through the nooks, crannies and curves of jet engine parts to detect defects and corrosion. The robot is also able to measure the thickness of an engine’s thermal barrier coatings.

Developed in partnership with SEMI Flex Tech, Binghamton University and UES, Inc., Sensiworm is controlled by an operator using a device that GE says is similar to a gaming controller and can be programmed to follow specific paths. “It has a sticky, suction-like bottom that enables it to climb and adhere to steep surfaces. Also, because the robot is very soft and compliant, it won’t harm any surfaces or cause any damage during an inspection,” says a spokesperson for GE.

According to GE, Sensiworm could reduce unnecessary engine removals and downtime, enabling faster turnarounds. Although Sensiworm is currently focused on engine inspections, Trivedi says the OEM is developing new capabilities that would enable the robot to execute repairs once it finds a defect.

Read more at Aviation Week

The Race to Automate Aerospace: A Talk with JPB Système CEO Damien Marc

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Matt Kremenetsky

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, Computer Numerical Control

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: JPB Système, Addimetal

“I took the decision to incorporate manufacturing into our core business. And that was a tough decision — our business is global, our competition is global, so we need to produce at the best quality and the best price,” explained Marc. “France was not necessarily the best choice in that sense, so I was going to look around and maybe buy a company. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but then I realized there was one other way I might be able to do it.”

Marc’s plan was to use CNC machines, with the business logic behind the idea that the equipment cost more or less the same no matter the country, but hiring the higher-salary workers in the French market could allow JPB to get the most value out of each machine. Marc quickly ran into trouble with this idea, as well. Much like in many of the other most heavily industrialized nations, good CNC operators that don’t already have jobs are just hard to come by. He finally settled on using CNC robots for the low-value tasks, so he could “center the operators in high-value operations.” This was a promising turning point, although it came with its own set of challenges.

“When I put two different machines in the workshop, they weren’t able to communicate with each other,” Marc said, referring attempts to connect his first CNC robot to an inspection machine. “There is no protocol. I was really surprised because my background is computer skills and electronics.” JPB ended up having to make its own programmable logic control (PLC) language in order to get the machines synced: “So, we created the communication between those two machines, and at the end, the machine for production was producing, the machine for inspection was inspecting, and the inspection machine was sending the offsets corrections to the production machine. We successfully created our first closed-loop.”


Groundbreaking research transmits energy from space to Earth

📊 Accelerating Innovation at JetBlue Using Databricks

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Sai Ravuru, Yared Gudeta

🔖 Topics: Data Architecture

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: JetBlue, Databricks, Microsoft

The role of data and in particular analytics, AI and ML is key for airlines to provide a seamless experience for customers while maintaining efficient operations for optimum business goals. For a single flight, for example, from New York to London, hundreds of decisions have to be made based on factors encompassing customers, flight crews, aircraft sensors, live weather and live air traffic control (ATC) data. A large disruption such as a brutal winter storm can impact thousands of flights across the U.S. Therefore it is vital for airlines to depend on real-time data and AI & ML to make proactive real time decisions.

JetBlue has sped AI and ML deployments across a wide range of use cases spanning four lines of business, each with its own AI and ML team. The following are the fundamental functions of the business lines:

  • Commercial Data Science (CDS) - Revenue growth
  • Operations Data Science (ODS) - Cost reduction
  • AI & ML engineering – Go-to-market product deployment optimization
  • Business Intelligence – Reporting enterprise scaling and support

Each business line supports multiple strategic products that are prioritized regularly by JetBlue leadership to establish KPIs that lead to effective strategic outcomes.

Read more at Databricks Blog

Increase Capacity with Automated Night Shifts

✈️ GE nears deal with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics to co-manufacture fighter jet engines

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: GE Aerospace, Hindustan Aeronautics

General Electric is in final discussions to cement a partnership with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. to co-manufacture jet engines in the country, CNBC has learned. The engines would be used utilized in fighter jets for India, the people said.

The deal, expected to be signed either before or during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington, D.C., later this month, would give the Indian aerospace company access to GE’s highly coveted F414 engine, according to two people familiar with the deal who requested anonymity to discuss not-yet-public details.

Read more at CNBC

Turbotech Soars with Sustainable Aviation Solutions Powered by Ansys Multiphysics Simulation

✈️ Korean Air Makes Progress On Drone Swarm Inspections

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Henry Canaday

🔖 Topics: Visual Inspection

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Korean Air

Korean Air is making progress on its novel approach to drone-based aircraft inspections, which uses a swarm of drones to further reduce inspection time and ensure complete coverage even if one drone malfunctions. Since demonstrating the drone swarms in late 2021, the airline has refined the technology and received government support to further development.

The airline’s drone swarm approach uses the latest drone enhancements, such as pre-set inspection plans, geofencing to keep drones in restricted areas, a collision avoidance system and artificial intelligence (AI). The drones are made locally by a Korean manufacturer. AI will enable the drones to detect various defects such as dents and cracks.

Read more at Aviation Week

GE Aerospace's cloud journey with AWS

Pyka’s Autonomous Aircraft Soar With 3D Printing Innovation

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Pyka, Shapeways

Pyka’s signature electric aircraft are transforming the future of cargo transportation with faster deliveries, improved safety, and efficiency–from ease in taking off to flying in harsh weather conditions. The expanding product line of the California-based aviation company continues to showcase their impressive vision and versatility, fueled by 3D printing. After mastering design and production of autonomous aircraft for agricultural applications like crop-spraying, Pyka transitioned into developing new solutions for middle-mile cargo transport.

Read more at Shapeways Blog

Plant tour: Middle River Aerostructure Systems, Baltimore, Md., U.S.

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Ginger Gardiner

🔖 Topics: RFID, Automated Fiber Placement

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Middle River Aerostructure Systems, Eastman Machine, Plataine, Electroimpact

Current production programs at MRAS include the LEAP-1A engine for the Airbus A320neo, LEAP-1C for the Comac C919, the CF-6 engine for multiple civil and military widebody aircraft, the Passport 20 engine for Bombardier’s Global 7500 business jet, the CF34-10A engine for the Comac ARJ21 and the GE9X engine for the Boeing 777X.

“For us, it was the integration with engineering, ERP and MRP that was key,” says Diederich. “Plataine integrates into all of this. It manages the raw materials coming in, generates cut plans per our engineering and marks the labels on the kit plies. We can dynamically nest up to 10 parts. The Plataine software uses AI to recommend which rolls of raw material should be cut next.” What is dynamic nesting? “Optimizing the nests on the fly as the software receives new inputs or when we query it,” says Diederich. “It can also send us alarms to change materials or operations. The sorted ply information is output to the Eastman systems, which have “cut and collect” software that identifies plies for kits using different colored lights. These match stacking tables at the conveyor’s end. ”

Read more at Composites World

🚀🖨️ Cheap, fast induction tech enables unlimited-size 3D metal printing

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Loz Blain

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Rosotics

Arizona company Rosotics says it’s ready to revolutionize large-scale 3D metal printing, with a new “rapid induction printing” approach that can print parts of enormous size – with radical advantages in speed, cost, safety and energy efficiency.

Many of today’s metal-printing systems use lasers to heat and melt powdered metal feedstocks. Rosotics founder and CEO Christian LaRosa says there are a number of problems inherent in laser systems. Firstly, those powdered metal feedstocks are expensive and frequently hazardous – for example, powdered titanium is explosive. Secondly, the lasers are an inefficient means by which to translate power into heat. Large-scale laser-based systems can require special energy supply systems. Thirdly, they can be dangerous – even a reflected beam of that kind of power can be enough to blind someone if it hits them directly in the eye. And fourthly, parts created by these methods typically need to be heat-treated afterwards, meaning that you can only print parts as big as the oven you can bake them in afterwards.

Read more at New Atlas

🚀🖨️ Relativity Space launches world's first 3D-printed rocket on historic test flight, but fails to reach orbit

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Mike Wall

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Relativity Space

The Relativity Space rocket, called Terran 1, lifted off from Launch Complex 16 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 8:25 p.m. EST (0025 GMT on March 23), kicking off a test flight called “Good Luck, Have Fun” (GLHF). Terran 1 performed well initially. For example, it survived Max-Q — the part of flight during which the structural loads are highest on a rocket — and its first and second stages separated successfully. But something went wrong shortly thereafter, at around three minutes into the flight, when the rocket failed to reach orbit.

“No one’s ever attempted to launch a 3D-printed rocket into orbit, and, while we didn’t make it all the way today, we gathered enough data to show that flying 3D-printed rockets is viable,” Relativity Space’s Arwa Tizani Kelly said during the company’s launch webcast on Wednesday night. “We just completed a major step in proving to the world that 3D-printed rockets are structurally viable,” she added.


We 3D Printed a Satellite with Sidus Space.

AAR acquires Trax, a leading provider of aircraft MRO and fleet management software

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: AAR, Trax

AAR CORP. (NYSE: AIR), a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government operators, MROs, and OEMs, has acquired Trax USA Corp., a leading independent provider of aircraft MRO and fleet management software.

The Trax acquisition accelerates AAR’s strategy to offer digital solutions focused on its core aviation aftermarket customers. Trax adds established, higher-margin aviation aftermarket software offerings with recurring revenue to AAR’s portfolio, and its complementary customer base provides opportunities to cross-sell products and services.

Read more at Globe Newswire

✈️ Boeing takes flight in sustainability battle with carbon data cruncher

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Lindsay Clark

🔖 Topics: Sustainability

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Boeing

US aerospace giant Boeing has released a data modeling tool designed to reveal the effects of a range of technologies that the industry hopes will reduce aviation’s carbon emissions.

In an effort to better understand the impact of proposed solutions, the Seattle-based manufacturer has released the Boeing Cascade Climate Impact Model for public use. The data modeling tool identifies the effects of a range of sustainability solutions to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions and can be found at Boeing’s new Sustainable Aerospace Together hub.

The company promises that Cascade crunches the numbers on the full life cycle of alternate energy sources for aviation, including production and distribution of fuels, through to their usage. Data modeling also measures airplane fleet renewal, operational efficiency, renewable energy sources, future aircraft, and market-based measures as pathways to decarbonization.

Read more at The Register

Automating Production of the F-35

Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace keeps its Engines Running on Databricks Lakehouse

Plant tour: Renegade Materials Corp., Miamisburg, Ohio, U.S.

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Hannah Mason

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Teijin, Renegade Materials

The largest area and piece of equipment in the facility is the prepreg line. Custom-built for Renegade Materials, the line was processing carbon fiber and Q183 rapid-cure epoxy prepreg during CW’s tour. On one side of the machine, rolls of textile reinforcement — carbon fiber, in this case — are fed into the machine, where it then goes through Renegade’s resin application process. Once impregnated, the fabric is then pulled along a conveyor belt through the rest of the machine, where rollers apply pressure to ensure consistent resin flow throughout the fabric. “Controlling resin flow, keeping it consistent — that’s the key,” Magato explains.

On the research level, Sutter says that Renegade Materials’ R&D group is constantly working to formulate new resins and chemistries to match customer needs, as well as processing technology to help support Renegades’ customers. “We take pride in being able to help our customers make their own finished components,” Magato adds.

Read more at Composites World

AI: how it’s delivering sharper route planning

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Karen kwon

🔖 Topics: Machine Learning

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Alaska Airlines, Air Space Intelligence

Creating a route requires a dispatcher to answer a host of questions such as: “What is the wind today?”, “What is the best altitude for this flight?” and “Is there any military training?” Before the Flyways software, the 100 or so dispatchers at the NOC had to find answers to these questions by visiting multiple websites. These included FAA websites designed specifically for dispatchers, but that information was available only as strings of text that were hard to read.

Having decided to focus on the aviation industry, the team started spending an obscene amount of time at the NOC in an effort to understand how dispatching works and to create a user-friendly product — one that a real dispatcher could seamlessly operate when under pressure. Alaska Airlines’ employees would joke that the team was basically camping in their operations center with sleeping bags, Buckendorf says.

Flyways improves itself further by learning from a human dispatcher’s acceptance or rejection of its recommendations. When the dispatcher dismisses a suggestion, Flyways asks why: Was it because of the weather? Was the route putting an airplane uncomfortably close to somewhere it shouldn’t be? The idea is that Flyways learns from those decisions and evolves — though certain data points need to be filtered out so that the software does not simply emulate human dispatchers’ choices, stifling innovation.

Read more at Aerospace America

How Honeywell Achieved 7X Faster Lead Times for a Critical Component

Aerospace Manufacturing: The Most Powerful Machines in the World

Meet the organization helping aviation companies harness digital twins

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jordan McDonald

🔖 Topics: Digital Twin

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: National Institute for Aviation Research, Altair, Boeing

NIAR works with government agencies, eVTOL manufacturers, and commercial aircraft OEMs like Boeing to test parts for compliance with FAA regulations, and with the FAA itself on certification by analysis methodologies for airframe crashworthiness and ditching, according to Gerardo Olivares, senior research scientist and director at NIAR. The industry has outsourced parts of these processes to organizations like NIAR in an effort to lower costs.

Olivares told Emerging Tech Brew that NIAR uses digital twins for flight testing, design, and test safety in devices like pilot seats, and to assist in FAA certification. He said its digital twin tech is developed with the help of Altair, a tech company that specializes in simulation software, among other things.

Read more at Emerging Tech Brew

A.I. Fuels Aerospace Manufacturing Automation

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Ilene Wolff

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: GKN Aerospace, GrayMatter Robotics, GE Aerospace, Otto Motors

In a quest to find automated process solutions for its production of aircraft transparencies (windows and canopies), U.K.-based GKN Aerospace Services Ltd. worked for 10 years with experienced automation integrators using off-the-shelf robots and controls. Despite its efforts, the number of failed systems configured “well outnumbers” the successful deployments, according to Martin Philo, principal research engineer. GrayMatter’s experts agreed with the aerospace supplier’s conclusion that providing a robot as a complete solution along with software for off-the-shelf robotics were the sources of failure in previous projects. Its Scan&Sand technology uses optical scanning and custom, physics-informed A.I.-driven software to support industrial robotic arms mounted on a gantry and equipped with an abrasive tool. Based on initial estimates, Scan&Sand will increase productivity by completing a part in less than four hours, giving GKN Aerospace’s production a boost by a factor of three or four. In addition, automation has the potential to significantly reduce its scrap, repair, and rework costs associated with sanding, which can reach $5 million yearly.

While Otto Motors builds its AMRs to offer customers the best total cost of ownership, longest life, and highest uptime, its real power lies in its software. The technology behind Rendall’s description is appealing: The fleet management software is one of the biggest reasons why customers choose Otto over its competitors, he said. “It’s the fleet management software that interfaces your AMR fleet into your manufacturing execution system, your SCADA system, your PLC network,” he said. “It is what gives you seamless, end-to-end integration and handoff of materials from a piece of processing equipment to a material transport solution like ours.”

Read more at SME

The SpaceX Effect - The Culture Behind SpaceX

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Jeff Burke, Michael Madrid

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: SpaceX

Let’s start with the execution side. Over the years, Elon Musk has given some brief windows into how they operate. One of the best examples is an interview Musk gave in 2021 where he outlines the five-step design process: Make requirements less dumb, Delete the part or process, Simplify or optimize, Accelerate cycle time, Automate.

Read more at Jeff's Newsletter

Mitsubishi Automates Boeing 777 Fuselage Production

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Austin Weber

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Boeing, Broetje-Automation

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) assembles 777 fuselage panels in Hiroshima, Japan, and ships them to Boeing’s wide-body aircraft factory in Everett, WA. To improve productivity and boost quality, the airframer recently installed an automated fastening system supplied by Broetje-Automation GmbH.

Two state-of-the-art production lines include nine major fastening systems that improve flexibility and throughput. The goal of the multi year project was to create an automated assembly system that can quickly adapt to production fluctuations and cost reductions. A flow line concept enables MHI to assemble multiple types of panels in different sizes and shapes on the same line, while significantly improving throughput and quality.

Traditionally, the aerospace industry has been slow to automate. “[That’s because manufacturers demand extremely accurate levels] of precision and quality,” says Wermter. “Commercial aircraft are large, complex products. “The total number of planes produced annually is also significantly low compared to other manufacturing sectors, such as automotive or consumer goods,” explains Wermter. “Only a small part of the entire production process is automated. “Due to complex processes [and tight tolerances], it’s often necessary to combine automatic and manual work in one workstation,” says Wermter. “Automation of entire lines is [rare] in the aerospace sector. However, new digital technologies, human-machine collaboration and Industry 4.0 [tools] are changing that scenario.”

Read more at Assembly Magazine

Reality Show: X-ray Vision Can See Through Metal

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Josh Roth, Jack Hsu

🔖 Topics: Augmented Reality, Visual Inspection, Digital Twin, Pose Estimation

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Boeing, Unity, Simon Fraser University

A typical aircraft maintenance inspection involves maintenance technicians and engineers walking around an aircraft recording new defects and damage with a pencil in a notebook. Locations are often described in language like ‘3 inches from the left side of the window.’ The inspection can often take hours or days. But what if you could hold a digital device and see locations of all previous damage and repairs highlighted in 3D?

Read more at Innovation Quarterly

How Fives Group is Changing Composite Lay-Up with RoboDK

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Alex Owen-Hill

🔖 Topics: Composite lay-up

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: RoboDK, Fives Group

Composite lay-up (a core step in the process of making a composite part) is traditionally a labor-intensive process. The process requires skilled technicians to create the parts needed using specialized tools and equipment. This is often slow and expensive, which limits the quantity of parts that composite manufacturers can make.

The Composites & Automated Solutions group at Fives has developed a technology that allows their customers to create composite parts using a robotic fiber placement head. This technology provides a lower-cost entry point into the composite lay-up process, making it easier for manufacturers to create the parts they need.

Read more at RoboDK Blog

Virtual MRO Facility Tour

Sustainability in Aerospace Composites Manufacturing: How AI and IIoT Drive Results

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Sustainability

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Plataine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines sustainable manufacturing as the creation of products in a manner that takes environmental factors into consideration and actively seeks to minimize negative impacts while saving on energy and natural resources. Sustainable manufacturing also enhances employee, community and product safety. Naturally, AI and IIoT are leveraged in the composite manufacturing industry in order to enhance material savings, reduce waste and increase throughput while minimizing energy consumption.

Read more at Plataine Blog

Novel Predictive Tool Tests the Durability of Composite Materials

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Skyla Baily

🔖 Topics: Nondestructive Test

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

Field experts will assess the extent of the aircraft damage using ultrasound equipment. This information will be used by Davidson’s developed predictive tool for computational tests to calculate the composite structure’s operating life and failure risk. The study also seeks to provide answers to the issues of what repairs are necessary, how long it will take to complete those repairs, and whether the aircraft is now safe to fly.

“The data obtained from the field teams is often incomplete. I’m infilling missing data using machine learning and computational tools to determine composite life, durability and safety. We’ll do the impacts and stress tests on the aircraft composites virtually,” Davidson adds.

Read more at AZO Materials

A step-by-step journey: How this Aerospace composites factory optimizes production with AI & IIoT

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Amir Ben-Assa

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Plataine

The powerful combination of IIot and advanced AI that smoothly integrate with existing software (ERP or MES) enable the benefits described above. IIoT sensors automatically track important real-time factors such as location, status, temperature and time. The sensor data collected is consumed by advanced applications (Digital Assistants) using AI algorithms that consider the present context, including upcoming demand and plans, providing actionable insights and recommendations in real time around critical areas such as material expiration, autoclave throughput, production demand, delivery deadlines, supply chain issues, etc.

Read more at Plataine Blog

A dual approach to decarbonization in aerospace

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Axel Esqué, Stephan Lidel, Kritika Rastogi, Robin Riedel, Franz Reuel

🔖 Topics: Sustainability

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: McKinsey

Commercial aviation accounted for roughly 3 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2019. When all related factors are included, such as the impact of NOx, contrails, and water vapor, the share could be double that or more. Airlines have already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, but companies within the aerospace industry—airframe OEMs, propulsion specialists, and other suppliers—also have an opportunity to make the greener products. These companies cannot only support their airline customers in decarbonizing flight operations; they can also decarbonize their own operations—the part of the process they truly own.

For a typical narrowbody aircraft, our analysis shows that about 99 percent of the lifetime CO2 emissions come from fuel, including its sourcing and combustion. About 1 percent is attributed to aircraft manufacturing, assembly, and maintenance, or to the materials used in these processes.1 That is significantly different from the lifetime emissions of a typical passenger car, which has a higher share of emissions from manufacturing, assembly, and materials (Exhibit). A large driver for that difference is that cars typically have a shorter operational life than commercial aircraft and get used less each day.

Read more at McKinsey Insights

Elon Musk Explains SpaceX's Raptor Engine!

We just built the world’s largest 3D-printed aerospike rocket engine

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Lin Kayser

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Hyperganic, AMCM

EOS sister company AMCM completed the print of the world’s largest aerospike rocket engine. It was engineered completely in Hyperganic Core using advanced software algorithms and has never seen a single piece of manual CAD. It’s likely the most complex AM part ever produced — it broke all conventional workflows. AMCM printed it in copper in their massive 1m build volume machine. The engine stands at 80cm tall.

Read more at Hyperganic Blog

3Din30: What's Fueling Launcher's Race to Space?

Autonomous robots will one day assemble telescopes directly in space | EU project Pulsar

The New Space Race: How 3-D Printing Is Driving Current And Future Space Exploration

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jonah Myerberg

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Desktop Metal

The ability to print parts is also helping reduce the complexity of rockets. Dubbed by some as “the most complex flying machine ever built,” the Space Shuttle used a staggering 2.5 million parts. Using 3-D printing, manufacturers can consolidate many of the complex components into multifunction assemblies, which can make them easier, faster and less expensive to produce, as well as more reliable to operate.

As the cost and complexity of manufacturing rockets and rocket engines have decreased in recent years, a number of private space exploration companies have emerged. Among the newest players in the field, our customer Privateer Space, co-founded by Steve Wozniak, is using 3-D printing to create small cube satellites that will monitor and remove debris from orbit.

Read more at Forbes

GITAI’s Autonomous Robot Arm Finds Success on ISS

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Evan Ackerman

🔖 Topics: robotics, Robotic Arm

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: GITAI

In this technology demonstration, the GITAI S1 autonomous space robot was installed inside the ISS Nanoracks Bishop Airlock and succeeded in executing two tasks: assembling structures and panels for In-Space Assembly (ISA), and operating switches & cables for Intra-Vehicular Activity (IVA).

Read more at IEEE Spectrum

Additive for Aerospace: Welcome to the New Frontier

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Kip Hanson

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, nondestructive test

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA, Northrop Grumman

Gao, a tech fellow and AM technical lead at Aerojet Rocketdyne, is particularly interested in the 3D printing of heat-resistant superalloys (HRSAs) and a special group of elements known as refractory metals. The first of these enjoy broad use in gas turbines and rocket engines, but it’s the latter that offers the greatest potential for changing the speed and manner in which humans propel aircraft, spacecraft, and weaponry from Point A to Point B.

“When you print these materials, they typically become both stronger and harder than their wrought or forged equivalents,” he said. “The laser promotes the creation of a supersaturated solid solution with fantastic properties, ones that cannot be achieved otherwise. When you combine this with AM’s ability to generate shapes that were previously impossible to manufacture, it presents some very exciting possibilities for the aerospace industry.”

Eric Barnes, a fellow of advanced and additive manufacturing at Northrop Grumman, says “Northrop Grumman and its customers are now in a position to more readily adopt additive manufacturing and prepare to enter that plateau of productivity because we have spent the past few years collecting the required data and generating the statistical information needed to ensure long term use of additive manufacturing in an aeronautical environment… In the future, you may be able to eliminate NDT completely. Comprehensive build data will also serve to reduce qualification timelines, and if you’re able to understand all that’s going on inside the build chamber in real-time, machine learning and AI systems might be able to adjust process parameters such that you never have a bad part.”

Read more at SME Media

Aerospace, Defense and Industry 4.0

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jim Camillo

🔖 Topics: IIoT

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: BAE Systems, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Airbus, Fraunhofer IIF

“Designing for manufacturability, modeling the production environment, and then producing our products with a minimum of duplicated effort—this can give us the breakthroughs in speed and affordability that the A&D environment needs in a time of limited budgets and rapidly changing threats,” explains Daughters. “These technologies are an essential component to our ‘digital thread’ across the product life cycle. They give us the ability to simulate tradeoffs between capability, manufacturability, complexity, materials and cost before transitioning to the physical world.”

“In a nutshell, I4.0 involves leveraging technology to better serve the world,” says Matt Medley, industry director for A&D manufacturing at IFS, a multinational enterprise software company. “More than just collecting and processing mounds of data via sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), I4.0 is turning data into actionable intelligence to not only drive efficiency and grow profits, but to also help companies be good stewards of our natural resources and local communities. Aerospace and defense companies whose enterprise software can keep pace with developments like additive manufacturing, AI, digital twins, and virtual and augmented reality (V/AR) are the ones that will thrive in an increasingly digital 4.0 era.”

Read more at Assembly

The Genius of 3D Printed Rockets

Automating Carbon-Fiber Composite Fuselage Assembly

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Austin Weber

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Fraunhofer IFAM, Airbus

“During the last 10 years, increased commercial aircraft production rates have led to more interest in automating assembly processes,” Brieskorn points out. “To reduce process times and cost, automation is becoming more appealing to engineers.

“However, the main challenge is that large aircraft parts come with relatively high geometry deviations, so robots need sensor guidance,” says Brieskorn. “Strict requirements and tight tolerances in the final structures are also challenging for standard automation systems.”

Read more at Assembly

3D Printing Technologies in Aerospace and Defense Industries

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Dick Slansky

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: Boeing

Currently, AI is an integral part of the design process for AM in aerospace. In designing parts for aircraft, achieving the optimal weight-to-strength ratio is a primary objective, since reducing weight is an important factor in air-frame structures design. Today’s PLM solutions offer function-driven generative design using AI-based algorithms to capture the functional specifications and generate and validate conceptual shapes best suited for AM fabrication. Using this generative functional design method produces the optimal lightweight design within the functional specifications.

Read more at AutomationWorld

Creating a Factory of the Future in Aerospace

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Andreas Hassold, Doug Luedtke, Doug Rogers

🔖 Topics: digital twin

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Bosch Rexroth

One of the unique anomalies of aerospace manufacturing is how it transitions from automated to manual production. Many initial components are fabricated in highly automated machining or manufacturing systems. These systems are already Industry 4.0-enabled with integrated sensors and PLCs that capture and package production data for analysis and quality control.

As subassemblies are created and installed, final assembly and integration is much more manual. For example, the final tightening of thousands of fasteners on aircraft is often done with pneumatic and manual wrenches that are purely mechanical, with manual inspections and written verification on paper documents. However, aerospace manufacturers can improve this process by integrating smart, programmable tightening tools that document the amount of torque applied for each fastener and that can automatically reconfigure torque and rotation settings based on the assigned task.

Read more at Assembly Magazine

Evolutionary Algorithms: How Natural Selection Beats Human Design

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: @OzdDerya

🔖 Topics: AI, generative design

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: NASA

An evolutionary algorithm, which is a subset of evolutionary computation, can be defined as a “population-based metaheuristic optimization algorithm.” These nature-inspired algorithms evolve populations of experimental solutions through numerous generations by using the basic principles of evolutionary biology such as reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection.

Read more at Interesting Engineering

How Data Keeps El Al Israel Airlines Airborne

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: El Al, Tamr

So whenever someone came with a new data model or a new way of presenting his improvement, thanks to the data, my role was to just maintain that I should keep feeding him with more and more relevant products for him to get better, for her to get better. And it practically like a train that started… I was the one trying to push this train, but once it started to roll, everybody wanted to get on the train. And on top of that, I started to create a culture of self service and we called it a data literacy program. And by that we understood that in order to grow exponentially, I know as a term being used now in the COVID aspect, but to grow exponentially with using the data, we had to come up with a training program for the business analysts to make them better, to make them good users of the BI products.

And by that, we could focus on things that only we can, and they can focus on analytics, they can focus on examining the data, preparing data and the right relevant sources for them and of course getting the insights. And by that, by having this data literacy program and even someone to lead this program, our head of data literacy, which was a unique part or unique role in Israel, we could easily work with a thousand customers, internal customers on making them better according to the goals that they set up. For example, I called… Let’s talk about SQL. So red level of SQL is someone who just knows how to write, I don’t know, select on tables and do nothing, well, just get a table. Yellow would be someone who can join tables and do something on top of that, like complicated work loads and someone who’s green in SQL is someone who knows how to write procedures and really knows how to work in difficult means of SQL.

Read more at Tamr

High-rate, automated aerospace RTM line delivers next-gen spoilers

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Spirit AeroSystems, Airbus, ThyssenKrupp, ABB, Pinette Emidecau Industries, Coexpair, Hexcel, CMS, Stäubli, Ultrasonic Sciences

Spirit’s assessment, which included composite and metallic options, agreed with the benchmarks established by Airbus. RTM of epoxy in carbon fiber meets all of the spoiler’s requirements, including — critically — cost. However, it is not production cost, says Pinner, but system cost, which Spirit was able to reduce by 30%. “The RTM solution was most cost effective from raw material to assembly onto the wing,” he says. The winning solution also was weight-neutral.

Back on the tables, as plies are cut, the ABB robot places them on a stacking station at the end of the row of tables. Here, a video camera performs a quick inspection of each ply. The plies are then sorted and kitted according to their end use — skins, spars, ribs — and then spot welded together, activating a binder in the NCF. Complete kits are next moved by the ABB robot to a stacking plate, which is, basically, a steel tray. On this tray is a QR code that specifies the type of kit it holds, whether upper skin, lower skin, spar or rib. The QR code is scanned by the robot, which logs the kit with a manufacturing execution system (MES), the software that drives the entire spoiler production line.

The MES is a product of ThyssenKrupp (Essen, Germany), the systems integrator that provided some of the manufacturing hardware and material handling equipment Spirit uses. Boyd says the software is off-the-shelf from ThyssenKrupp, but it’s been customized for the spoiler production line to provide Industry 4.0 capability. The MES was written not just to track material status and manufacturing progress throughout the plant, but to guide and prompt operator activity through every step — when to move material from point to point, when to load machines, when to unload machines, etc. “We don’t want an operator to make a move here unless the MES says to make a move,” Boyd notes. Moreover, he says, MES provides full data traceability, which allows Spirit to capture and see full M&P information, from the raw material as it comes in the door to the finished spoiler as it goes out the door.

Read more at CompositesWorld

Airbus: How an Aircraft Knowledge Database Can Boost Aircraft Operations and Design

Fastems and MTU Aero Engines

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Manufacturing Execution System

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Fastems, MTU Aero Engines, Airbus

As far as possible, system integrators should be experts in the disciplines of both hardware and software. Particularly the “soft” side of automation has become immensely more important, not least because of Industry 4.0. The magnitude of this is demonstrated by a challenging project of MTU Aero Engines AG. The aircraft engine manufacturer was looking for a partner to implement a highly automated blisk production system and opted for Fastems, whose many years of experience in software development enabled it to provide the necessary intelligence for the solution that was envisaged.

According the production manager, the loading and unloading alone means that the Monforts cannot run as autonomously as the milling centers with workpieces requiring long machining times of between 20 and 40 hours. “However, automation with the gantry loader gives us a decisive increase in efficiency. Despite very short processing times of between 20 minutes and two hours, we were able to increase the throughput of these machines by a factor of 4 to 5,” says Walter Sürth, emphasizing the manufacturing quality in connection with the demand for high productivity: “From a technological point of view, the production of blisks is the best that can be expected from a machine tool in terms of precision and therefore repeatability. However, if the workpieces aren’t set up accurately, not even the highest-precision machines are of any use.” This is why the main MLS has three Fastems high-precision set-up stations where the devices can be fitted on zero-point clamping systems for both mill-turning and milling centers. “The accuracy of the set-up stations is comparable to the machine tools. This means potential errors are avoided and cannot even enter production,” says Sürth.

The Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) from Fastems, which is specially adapted to the extremely stringent and specific requirements of blisk production, serves as a nervous system for the overall automation solution. The control system plans the entire production for 96 hours in advance and must constantly be able to manage up to 1,500 jobs. Put another way, this can be around 150,000 manufacturing operations. If the deadline is moved, the MMS reschedules the entire production in real time, again for four days in advance.

Read more at Fastems Case Studies

Boeing Tests Augmented Reality in the Factory

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: augmented reality

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Boeing

Installing electrical wiring on an aircraft is a complex task that leaves zero room for error. That’s why Boeing is testing augmented reality as a possible solution to give technicians real-time, hands-free, interactive 3D wiring diagrams - right before their eyes.

“Our theory studies have shown a 90 percent improvement in first-time quality when compared to using two-dimensional information on the airplane, along with a 30 percent reduction in time spent doing a job.”

Read more at Boeing Features