Every two years in June, aviation and space enthusiasts turn their attention to the International Air Show and Space of Paris-Le Bourget (SIAE), more commonly known as the Paris Air Show. This is the largest international event representing the aviation, aerospace and defense industries on a global scale today.
The origin of this exhibition began in December, 1908 when a “reserved to the things of the air” section is created in the motor show at the Grand Palais in Paris. The following year in September 1909, although still associated with the Motor Show, the event became the first international exhibition of aerial locomotion and the first purely aviation event, marking the beginnings of the aviation industry in France. This show was created by André Granet (1881-1974) and Robert Esnault-Pelterie (1881-1957), aviation pioneer and inventor who created the industrial aerial locomotion Association the previous year. No shows were held during the First and Second World Wars.
June 2015 marked the opening of the 51rst edition of this highly anticipated show where iBase-t contributed to the industry’s knowledge of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Quality Management and Supplier Quality Assurance software. This year nearly 120 civil and military aircraft, many of them state-of-the-art in design and development, were presented. The iBase-t team witnessed some great demonstrations of civil and military aircraft flight, including the spectacular vertical takeoff of the Boeing 787, the sleek aerobatic Rafale and the majestic flight of the Airbus A380 to name a few. French President, Francois Hollande was one of the many dignitaries in attendance leading the opening day ceremonies on Monday, June, 15.
The iBase-t team found the event fascinating and well worth the time invested seeing what the 2,260 exhibitors from 47 different countries were promoting at the event. Many companies and large groups were presented: Safran, Antonov, Dassault, Gulftream, Airbus, MBDA, Diehl, Thussenkrupp, Arianespace, ATR, Areva, and Bombardier to name a few.
In numbers, this years’ event was a great success with:
- 351,000 visitors
- $130B orders & purchase intentions received by vendors in attendance
- Over 100 aircraft orders per day
- 124 aircraft ($ 16.3 billion) sold by Airbus, the international European aircraft manufacturer
- 145 aircraft ($ 18.6 billion) sold by Boeing, the international American manufacturer
- 48 Rafale have been sold by the French army
- $ 18.6 billion sold by ATR, the world leader in-propeller aircraft
Innovation wasn’t forgotten at this show.
The Onera,organization specializing in aeronautics research, presented an airline concept that would save 15 to 20% lower fuel consumption compared to previous models of medium-range aircraft such as the Airbus A320. A model of the Nova was presented, a concept civilian aircraft capable of carrying 180 passengers at a speed of 900 km per hour. The Nova will be available as early as 2025.
This aircraft was designed around the concept of more efficient engines, with a larger diameter, to capitalize on a greater amount of air. This pattern is not new, the latest models of the Boeing 727 and A320 (A320 Neo for New Engine Option), were re-engineered with larger diameter engines. On the one hand, this helps to reduce noise and power consumption but on the other hand, the aircraft must be able to carry these new heavier engines, designed to support greater weight. The entire aircraft has been redesigned accordingly.
Snecma showcased the LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) production lines with assisted movements, laser projection, virtual reality and online. The company offers every advantage in this initiative to ensure fast production ramp of its two LEAP engine production lines. Each pulse line is planned for the assembly of 500 LEAP engines per year.
At Villaroche site, two new assembly lines dedicated to LEAP will be created alongside the two existing production lines for the CFM56. These pulse lines will resemble the image below with the following dimensions: 60 meters long and 20 meters wide. The two lines should be operational in January, 2017 and early 2018 respectively. With those production lines, Snecma will be able to assemble up to 1,000 engines per year at this site, or more than 4 engines per day.
These pulse lines will also benefit from many technological innovations. The engines of the movements will be managed via touch screens, air handling will swing by the rotation of the motors on their horizontal axis (exclusive patent of Snecma’s). The positioning equipment on the engines will be assisted by laser projection and virtual reality systems allowing operators to work more accurately and at a faster pace with specialized tools. It will be a configured as a 60 meter U line with a dozen of work stations. The company has already registered 8,900 orders.
The Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Comac C919 jets and others that will be using engines produced on the pulse line. The objective is to reach 900 engines per year on the site Villaroche 2020.
Additive manufacturing using metal substrates is gaining momentum in aerospace manufacturing. Many exhibitors at the show were presenting 3D printers and 3D printing materials. This technology is coming soon into the production line.
The most obvious example was a scale model 1/8th of a reactor mat (the mechanical assembly fixing the engine under the wing) presented by Sogeclair Aerospace. This set is the result of an R&D conducted with the simulation tools publisher Altair and the 3D print provider. It is printed on a machine EOS polyamide. At scale 1, this set of 6 meters long will consist of 14 parts for a mass of only 350 kg, against 450 kg for an assembly of 654 classical pieces cut in the mass.
There is strong interest in this new mode of production on the part of PLM vendors. This new process will support end-to-end hardware design covering upstream as well as downstream testing and accuracy of the manufacturing process. The examples at the show illustrated how digital engineering parameters required for the additive manufacturing of engine parts, materials science, functional specifications, generative design, optimization of 3D printing, multi-robot production and certification all must be tightly orchestrated to be successful.
Altran presented the pop3d, a 3D printer developed in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, who is capable of producing additive parts in microgravity. It will be tested aboard the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of the year.
Top Three Insights Gained From the Paris Air Show
- Taurus Systems: A joint venture between SAAB and MBDA and is specialized in the area of Stand-off Weapon Systems ranging from initial concept studies to the fully developed weapon, ready-to-operate integrated system solution such as effects-based operation illustrates just how fast innovation is permeating defense systems globally.
- Diehl Defense: Specialized in the production of highly accurate guided missiles for armies, air forces and navies, system solutions for ground-based air defense, intelligent ammunition solutions to innovative reconnaissance and protection systems illustrate how advanced analytics and GPS is revolutionizing defense electronics.
- Liebherr Aerospace: Supplies aircraft air management, flight control and actuation systems, hydraulic and landing gears systems for commercial transport aircraft, commuter and regional aircraft, business jets, fighters, military transport, trainer aircraft as well as civil and military helicopters. Leibherr’s product advances illustrate how software is playing a pivotal role in the development of the next generation of aerospace and defense systems.
Bottom line: The iBase-t team gained excellent insights into how Solumina can help aerospace and defense manufacturers meet the challenges of current and future projects, programs and initiative at the Paris Air Show this year – and will be sharing those insights throughout the year.
See you in 2017 for the 52nd edition of the International Air Show and Space of Paris-Le Bourget !