Today, October 6, is Manufacturing Day, which offers an industry-wide “celebration of modern manufacturing” meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.
Today’s manufacturing and business environment is marked by more sophisticated products, maintenance protocols, and globally distributed supply chains and technology partners. Let’s consider the vast impact manufacturing has had on so many industries, especially in the context of technology innovation and accelerating growth forecasts.
Commercial Airline Manufacturing Predictions
Commercial airline growth, for example, is forecasted to continue at a steady pace, at about six percent annually for the next 20 years. Accordingly, civil aviation’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) market will see healthy growth, accelerating to 5.2% CAGR from 2022-2027. The global fleet will be refreshed over the next ten years, with half of the 20,000 new planes delivered replacing in-service aircraft. The passenger fleet will net more than 10,000 new planes by 2027. Due to regional differences in air travel, fleets in China and India will continue to age as aircraft are kept in service to meet outsized demand in Asia, but developing areas like Africa and the Middle East will overall have newer fleets. The Global Fleet and MRO Forecast Summary 2017-2027 from Oliver Wyman details these technology, travel, and fleet trends and their impact on MRO market over the next decade.
Fleet age, travel demand, outsourcing trends, and global economic pressures will shape the MRO market, with regional differences and new aircraft technologies disrupting business-as-usual. Traditionally, MRO businesses have not needed to invest heavily in R&D and corporate strategy. To rise to the challenge of more dynamic, globalized markets, MROs must quickly develop internal abilities to recognize, assess, and prepare for change. Incorporating analytic and automation technologies is key to modernizing MRO operations and harnessing the power of enterprise-wide digital integration.
Digital Transformation Ushers in a New Era of MRO
The digital thread is in essence a communication framework that enables connected data flow throughout the asset lifecycle and across traditionally segmented functions (design, engineering, production, maintenance). This all-encompassing framework ensures an integrated, authoritative, up-to-the-minute view of the aircraft’s data that can be accessed at any point along the way. The digital twin, a related concept, is the digital model of a particular asset (e.g. aircraft tail number) that includes specifications and models describing its geometry, materials, components and behavior. More importantly, it includes the as-built and operational data unique to that specific physical asset. The digital twin includes engineering changes made during production and deviations from original design, as well as inspection, operation, and MRO data. It’s readily apparent that building the integrated infrastructure and capability to leverage these comprehensive digital records will be a game changer for aviation MRO.
Data Integration and MRO
Sophisticated integration of data and systems is fundamental to the successful implementation of several core technologies that are already changing the way MRO work is performed: UAVs for autonomous, intelligent inspections; additive manufacturing of spare parts on demand; and augmented reality and natural language interfaces for advanced guidance of inspections and repairs. It’s not difficult to imagine how these innovations, used in concert and underpinned by the digital thread framework, could result in step changes in productivity, accuracy, and efficiency. They will certainly prove to be a key differentiator in the increasingly competitive MRO landscape, with wide ranging repercussions for the entire value chain. A continuous, data-driven feedback loop from design through MRO will help optimize every stage of manufacturing.
MRO Software Tools
Through MRO software tools, users can do more with less. It shortens the learning curve for complex processes, and workers use their time more effectively and efficiently. This leads to a more satisfied productive workforce, a critical advantage in times when personnel issues are challenging everyone in the industry.
These are just a few manufacturing advances in the past year, and we look forward to driving continued innovation in the year to come. To learn more about how modern MRO software can help you cope with the challenges of today’s MRO market, visit our MRO product page.
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