Expediting Industry 4.0 Transformation in Aerospace

Fremont, CA: Industry 4.0 technologies could be the key to unlocking future competitiveness. There is a compelling case for aerospace and defense (A&D) firms to incorporate digital transformation throughout their organization. By leveraging novel technologies, A&D firms can successfully access, manage, and leverage data from their digital assets to make more accurate and faster decisions through valuable business insights.

Despite implementing industry 4.0 technologies in areas such as factory production and supply chain, many A&D firms have been slow in integrating digital transformation initiatives that cover the entire organization. Restricting digital strategy to a few functions may increase the risk of A&D firms to lag behind in the present world of emerging and novel technologies. Instead of viewing new technologies as an add-on to existing processes and practices, A&D business leaders should revaluate how they do business utilizing them in an efficient way.

Industry 4.0 technologies can make existing products smarter using sensors and connectivity, and streamline manufacturing processes such as additive manufacturing, among others. For example, real-time flight data collected from sensors in aircraft is being used to reduce fuel consumption, improve scheduling, and minimize flight delays. A&D 4.0 technologies are also improving the aftermarket experience by using data to track asset condition and predicting parts and systems failures ahead of time.

Although A&D firms are utilizing Industry 4.0 technologies, the opportunity exists to implement this more widely across functions, by focusing on four vital areas - becoming agile, establishing new business models, ensuring close collaboration with the supply chain, and safeguarding data and intellectual property from cybersecurity threats. The spotlight should be on leveraging innovative, game-changing technologies so as to enable survival in the ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ A&D sector.

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