The digital revolution of the 21st century is emerging more and more in the industrial sectors and is becoming a necessity for most of the transport industry during this health crisis. The aviation industry is beginning to use digital technology for production, but also for the use of its equipment, as well as for maintenance and the consumer experience.
This digital revolution in this type of sector is providing real benefits in the short and long term for companies using this new process internally.
Beyond the various productivity or cost gains that this digital revolution can bring, it is also a necessity in the face of the current problems that the world is facing. These issues are of course global warming, and therefore reinventing production and designing a completely different model of industry that will be less polluting in the long term. But there is also the issue of the health crisis where digital can play a major role by limiting the points of contact between individuals.
In the first instance, digital technology is beginning to be used to introduce a new production concept that allows industry to save time and therefore productivity.
Industry 4.0 will make production operations more efficient as almost all instructions are automated with real-time information. It will also make it possible to lighten the work of certain workers with robots that will be designed to carry heavy loads during the production process but also to limit actions that are too repetitive.
We can see that the aeronautical sector is strongly inspired by the automotive industry, which already has feeder lines where actions are standardised and broken down into simple actions in order to obtain better monitoring. Whereas in the aeronautical sector, the production process is still done on fixed stations and the tasks are cut more widely, which slows down productivity.
We can take the example of connected screwdrivers which save a lot of time because they indicate directly what type of gauge to use and the torque to be applied. It also saves time because it can record information about its use over time.
Industry 4.0 is also a company that manages and optimises production flows and that also knows how to keep a central place for humans, who are increasingly surrounded by machines. This requires the involvement of all the players. Training courses will of course be dedicated to new users of these machines or technologies in the production process in order to know how to use them correctly.
The logic of Industry 4.0 is to produce more but at lower cost without compromising the quality of the finished product. Production automation is central to the use of digital technology, allowing machines to be designed with faster and more precise movements without the risk of burnout.
The 3D printer is also emerging in the aeronautical industry for the creation of aircraft parts. For example, we can see machines that automatically adapt to different sizes or shapes of fuselage parts.
To achieve Industry 4.0, the manufacturer must be able to connect its machines and applications with a minimum of development investment. Software and systems already exist that allow a machine to be connected in a short time to an existing computer application in order to collect and use the information retrieved by the machine to, once again, increase the quality of monitoring within the production process.
We can mention the example of Airbus, which in 2015 launched the “smart factory” project with the aim of doubling the speed of production. Airbus has therefore developed robots (production automation) to attach elements to the fuselage of the aircraft, but also to use augmented reality as an alternative to manual verification, which always takes several weeks.
The digital revolution is also taking place within the production chain by the implementation of digital control procedures and the transmission of information in real time.
The use of digital technology within the production chain will initially have to be “assimilated” in order to enable the teams to know how to use these new means and tools. Digital will change everything and we can even talk about transforming the organisation, so we must be able to succeed in changing by training and educating so as not to impact the company.
Because these new innovations will affect the employees, the functioning of the team, the operational tasks and the entire process of the company. To do this, it is necessary to adopt the right tactics so as not to have a major impact on the company’s organisation:
– Analysis of the impact on all levels of the organisation
– Involvement of stakeholders in the creation of a new strategy
– Communication of the strategy and training of teams
– Implementation of an integrative strategy
In addition, these new technologies and tools for the aeronautical sector allow several objectives to be achieved:
– Greater efficiency
– Improved accuracy
– Real-time feedback
– Cost containment
– Improved customer experience
Today, companies are increasingly relying on strategic equipment that is more complex than the previous one and is vital to the company in terms of cost efficiency.
We have many examples in our daily lives of companies having production failures or not having anticipated certain factors which have slowed down or completely stopped their production, leading to criticism from their customers or consumers.
These failures not only lead to consumer dissatisfaction but also to economic impacts on the company.
For a company, guaranteeing a service or boosting its production, will require it to optimise the operational availability of its strategic equipment over time in order to produce better or more efficiently and to limit the risk of production breakdown. This also allows, as we said earlier, to reduce the operating cost in the long term.
To achieve this, obtaining a high-performance MCO (Maintenance in Operational Condition) requires and implies a quasi-permanent search for optimisation of the cost/efficiency of the MCO, in order to ensure the availability of strategic equipment at the right level and at the best possible cost.
The only way to achieve these objectives simultaneously is to strengthen the optimisation of the support system and its implementation. This requires a policy of operational readiness.
In order to achieve these objectives, all activities and processes must be taken into account over the entire life cycle of the company’s strategic equipment.
The different stages of the equipment life cycle:
– Acquisition of the equipment and its support system. The support system is equipped with its maintenance system.
– During the operation and support of the equipment in the production phase with maintenance (preventive and corrective), supply and storage, purchasing and subcontracting, control of support processes (management of maintenance, its configuration and changes over time in technology).
– End of life cycle of the equipment, i.e. historization of experience feedback, its dismantling and finally its potential revalorisation.
This approach is therefore based on a perfect understanding of the life cycle of the equipment concerned, but also on a search for continuous improvement in order to achieve the best results for the company.
In recent years, we have seen that the life cycle of equipment is becoming longer and faster than ever before due to the many technological innovations in everyday life. On the other hand, the means of acquiring and supporting this equipment must be reduced as much as possible in order to meet the needs of an ever tougher competition, making the demands for operational availability even higher.
As we have noticed in the last few years, digital technology plays a major role in the unique experience of the consumer during the entire journey.
Today there are a large number of applications that help the consumer during his journey, such as providing him with all the information in real time on a potential flight delay, the boarding gate or the time of check-in of his luggage.
Digital technology can therefore offer efficient and accurate tracking, which provides greater confidence and serenity for the traveller during the day’s travel. A good number of services are also available through the various airline applications, which offer paid services such as access to private lounges while waiting for the flight, access to priority boarding, and many other additional service options, always with the aim of offering the consumer a unique experience.
Today, airlines are struggling to create differentiation through the customer’s experience during their travel day thanks to digital and the services available.
Thanks to digital, the consumer saves a lot of time in checking in his luggage but also in booking his flight which is now done in a few minutes only. Digital technology has also allowed for greater flexibility in the choice of flights, but it also allows for additional options when booking a ticket, such as a complete accompaniment of the consumer by a taxi for the journey to the airport and for the arrival at the hotel.
Digital technology also makes it possible to collect the various data acquired over time, which can later be used to refine and create better recommendations for future bookings or choices of services for the customer.
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