Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Industry 4.0 in Action: Digital Transformation in Aerospace Manufacturing [VIDEO]

April 5, 2017

The global aerospace and defence sector is predicted to see a very welcome return to growth this year, with a predicted 2% rise in sector revenue in 2017 according to Deloitte. Aerospace manufacturers are set to benefit from an increase in global defence spending, coupled with relatively low commodity prices.

Against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty, they are understandably keen to maximise this opportunity. Not only by boosting productivity, but also the valuable after-sales services opportunity that, according to the core principles of Industry 4.0, will represent a much great proportion of future revenues.

Here in Europe, we have some ground to make up in this area, with only 32% of manufacturing leaders interviewed as part of recent Cisco research citing firm plans for a service transition, compared with 62% in Asia Pacific and 48% in the Americas.

The Cisco Manufacturing Practice in Europe has recently been exploring how digital technology can bring machines and humans together to enable greater insight into manufacturing and after sales services, improving decision support and productivity. Our team recently worked on solution that does precisely this, based on a combination of networking, IoT and collaboration technology.

Working closely with aerospace manufacturers, our team set out to answer the following questions using a combination of digital technologies:

  • How can closer man-machine collaboration improve decision support?
  • How can we take advantage of systems data & contextual information to create new insights?
  • How can we reduce the time to identify anomalies and deviations, and reduce time to fix?
  • How can we capture learnings and experiences to help grow knowledge management?
  • How can globally dispersed expert resources collaborate more effectively

The solution they came up with (captured in this video) is really quite exciting:

To summarise, this digital manufacturing capability:

  • Utilises edge analytics to identify abnormal event patterns in real-time (engine/components during assembly, engine test and during MRO operations)
  • Generates automated alerts using the Cisco Spark collaboration platform
  • Creates a dynamic virtual collaboration space that, based on the nature of the problem detected, will automatically find and bring together the appropriate specialists, live data and contextual information.
  • Can be accessed via a collection of computing endpoints (Hololens AR, tablets, Spark-Boards, Video and Web collaboration) for fault finding and diagnosis.
  • Engineers can interact with physical machines and processes using natural language collaboration tools as though they were human – no need to learn and use coding language, simply say or type in the same way as they would to a human colleague and the tools will understand.

The collaborative workspace will enable remote experts to guide local engineers through complex operations as though they were there in person, and can record for audit purposes or later analysis.  One application for the recording of such sessions is to extract learnings from the various interactions using cognitive techniques in order to improve the harvesting of knowledge assets.

This project clearly demonstrates how networking, IoT and Collaboration technologies are acting as a catalyst for the changing face of work, and can significantly impact KPIs such as reduced build time, time to respond to service requests, customer experience and satisfaction, and knowledge management.

Learn more about Cisco’s digital manufacturing capabilities by visiting our website.

Leave a comment