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Coordination Action Pro “Production, Avionics, Design” on Cost-efficiency in Aeronautics

Final Report Summary - CAPPADOCIA (Coordination Action Pro “Production, Avionics, Design” on Cost-efficiency in Aeronautics)

Executive Summary:
Throughout its activity, CAPPADOCIA puts a strong focus on cost efficiency and competitiveness issues coming up from main actors of the air transport value chain mostly involved in the predesign, design phase and ramp-up activities. Thus, CAPPADOCIA proposed accordingly individual and collective competitiveness’ recommendations considering major issues and changes occurring within these targeted steps of the value chain.

Among those to have been further considered through CAPPADOCIA, one can note the following:

• Early design phase:
o Define general, specific, and functional requirements at early stage (collaboration of the value chain),
o Changing requirements,
o Transition to detailed design phase & later phases,
o Reduction of loss in RFQ,
o Retrofits.

• Detailed design phase:
o Customization,
o Co-design tools and co-development platform,
o Integration with ramp-up.

• Manufacturing ramp-up phase:
o Audit & evaluations,
o Digital industrialization tools,
o Supplier data base.

Project Context and Objectives:
CAPPADOCIA investigated accordingly the above listed value chain most critical activities based on its previously reported main strategic enablers for the European air transport sector:

• Collaborative supply-chain: The latest evolution of the decision-making power within the European aviation supply chain from upstream to downstream industrial actors is challenging their respective individual and collective competitiveness. Airframers’ business is based on several industries fed by many and multisector tier one suppliers. These numerous subcontractors often generate technological innovations especially within the aircraft design step. Although recognised as leading innovators, subcontractors are most often dominated by their main client which most likely imposes severe conditions of purchase. Their weak diversification associated to a strong domestic market dependence presents a real risk for these subcontractors’ sustainability and directly for the whole European aviation supply chain. Thanks to their strategic position, airframers remained for long in a dominant position especially compared to airlines. Nevertheless, the entry of new competitors from China and India is challenging this long time established situation. This should impact the overall worldwide aviation competition and impact European Airframers, including their subcontractors.

• Factory of the Future: The factory of the future overall concept will strongly impact the aeronautic value-chain in the next decades. As such it already demonstrated to be a great opportunity to fulfil this change of paradigm within the downstream value chain actors and activities (like being able to quickly meet clients’ needs, propose new services etc.). Industry 4.0 will affect the entire aviation supply chain and product life cycle, from product design and development, to the operations management and logistics.

• Emerging innovation trends: As encouraged by the SRIA, there must be a stronger collaborative approach to innovation, pooling the know-how of multiple stakeholders, including educational establishments, to accelerate the innovation process and provide the best possible response to customers’ needs.” To identify pragmatically the issues encountered several interviews and workshop have been carried out to complete a previously achieved updated state of the art.

Project Results:
1 Aeronautical suppliers’ and OEM innovative collaboration opportunities in the early design phases

The airframers have always performed an important and central role in the supply chain organization. Their activities covered as such the whole aircraft life cycle from conceptual design up to maintenance and withdrawal from service (“From cradle to grave”). At the origin of the modern aviation their efforts were mostly devoted, to create new aircraft to fly faster and to carry more passengers on board. The main objective was to assure a constant business expansion of the flight network for the operators and the manufacturer itself. The birth of the European community opened a new era to the pan European collaboration, without boundary restrictions, in several society sectors and, for the aviation, which became one of the most favoured and safe transport system.

Its future growth will then require a full and in-depth revision of the European air transport main capacities to benefit from the new perceived constraints (e.g. environmental and energy) and market opportunities related to unmanned and personal transport.

1.1 Aeronautical collaborative supply chain organisational and industrial evolution towards “Airframers” centric approach:

• Current vision & challenges towards competitiveness increase: Revolutionary changes in aircraft design have been accompanied by evolutionary developments and these have together resulted in highly efficient and safe aircraft. This combination remains needed to address new societal and market needs. This requires innovative design and manufacturing approaches to cope with new technologies for aircraft. Among those, one can note: novel hybrid-electric propulsion concepts and their integration in aircraft, multifunctional materials and structures for weight-saving, reduced manufacturing cost and increased production rate, and innovative aerodynamics including laminar flow and aero-elasticity control for improved aircraft performance for low- and high-speed phases.

Still, design for end-to-end performance improvement (for example for low total cost of ownership and safety) must be achieved through multidisciplinary approaches such as multi-criteria optimisation and digital model-based engineering.

Current main challenges to overcome are the following:

o Accelerate the design and development phases by rigorous integration of design and testing tools with reference to the increasing rate of the modern fleet’s replacement.
o Envelopes for certification of aeronautical products and qualification of manufacturing processes that are demonstrated by accurate virtual methods to enable cost-efficient improvement of products based on operational experience.
o Provide friendly product customization with quite simple management and low impact on the production rate and its "ramp-up".
o Guarantee easy access to financial resources for the suppliers and the other weaker supply-chain actors (e.g. SME).
o Assure adherence of the SME to the OEMs new digital and Industry 4.0 paradigms overcoming the difficulties for 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers to access information.
o Improve collaboration among supply-chain stakeholders especially with the co-development of products using common digital platforms based on standardized exchanges and practices.
o Share the best manufacturing practices through the supply-chain elements and through access to state of the art tools within clear and shared agreements and public IP regulations.
o Enabling standardization through all systems with the involvement of all supply chain stakeholders. This is the most practical way to minimize the current waste of time and get a better travel quality.
o Include in its aeronautical products the subsystem/components that have demonstrated great performances in other sectors and consequently have been appreciated by the market (e.g. “Open Innovation” philosophy).
o Implement fast, effective and robust design/development methodologies that are able to follow the current impressive market dynamics (obsolescence time) which could be terrible in the next decades.
o Support the concurrence of harmonized and well-coordinated activities, to create a clear and comfortable prospect for any industrial or commercial initiative by means of disciplinary specialists having pertinent skills.

• Innovation processes aiming at supporting the aeronautical collaborative supply chain organisational and industrial competitiveness increase: Even though the global aviation market is increasing in size, Europe must preserve its preeminent position to ensure the continued success and economic contribution of its aviation industry by investing continuously and heavily in key enabling innovation, research and technology supported by adequate public policy and public framework.

Product development efficiency is one of the key business challenge each company must achieve to be successful in selling competitive products and services to its customers with an appropriate profit margin. To be successful, the next generation aircraft, at last the non-derivative ones, will be based on innovative architecture concepts. To support this, a disruptive development and production process must be put in place – one that would consider a global System of Interest comprising the aircraft performances, its associated manufacturing, its exploitation, and its maintenance. The new performance designed products should address out of cycle activities, End-2-End integration of architecture, Co design Engineering / manufacturing since early phases, etc. It requires End-2-End holistic digital continuity (the capacity to access seamlessly data coming from different product line manager and solution line manager belonging to partners associated with the performance designed product). The key drivers for this disruptive process are well known:
o Achieve shorter time to market - a decrease of at least 50% in development and lead time,
o Recover PLM margins to innovate, technically and financially,
o Minimize problems associated with insufficient maturity of the development process (overspending, rework, delays, lack of product maturity at EIS, supply chain issues, issues affecting production ramp up, etc.),
o Improve the overall efficiency of the collaborative supply chain during the design phase,
o Allow more flexibility for late customization, including the capability to cope with unforeseen customer demand while guarantying adequate level of performance.

One way to achieve this would be to target a seamless end-to-end integrated co-design of the product and the industrial system, including operability; fully based on a product line model-based systems engineering methodology applied from the feasibility phase to full rate production and operation.

The implementation of such development plan is subject to the availability of the following key enablers:
o Product line platforms and modular architectures shared with the key design partners,
o Integrated product-and-manufacturing model based methodology and associated capabilities and skills,
o Out of cycle architectures, validated smart components (models) (incl. prototype needs),
o Fast prototyping capabilities,
o Capabilities for fast re-integration of design changes into the product,
o Engagement model and Business model for early adopters’ airlines,
o Engagement model for the supply chain,
o Airworthiness authorities’ acceptance of new means of compliance,
o Agile ways of working at scale.

Several H2020 funded research projects addressed these issues and already provided significant progresses. As for the digitalization aspects associated with the Model-Based System Engineering approach, there is still a general lack of manufacturing and business models adapted to a real Product Line Model-Based Systems Engineering.

The following associated recommendations have been identified:
o Adopt a common general approach in any field of the organization’s framework: nomination of key roles, accounting supervision, internal controls, quality assurance, risk management and auditing process.
o Focus on objective evidence and adopt the most suitable approach to answer the relevant questions and formalize the identified issues.
o Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to estimate the process performances using statistical tools to overcome the difficulties experienced in case of partiality of the public data.
o Adopt computational platforms able to collect and to analyse the air transport trend at world and regional level and the aviation evolution to support the management decisions of the stakeholders, as soon as possible, by effective forecast methodologies.
o Increase competitiveness in product industrialisation: Industrialisation encompasses access to a full set of production data and capabilities of different production sites to simulate the best industrial choice proactively, starting at the early design and conception phases.
o Develop high-value manufacturing technologies: High-value manufacturing technologies represent an embedded digital thread within the integrated supply chain, facilitating a data-driven material conversion and manufacturing process. The technology is developed, validated and certified in a virtual workspace, enabling real-time changes in the physical manufacturing process.
o Secure continued and focused investment: Further innovative research, supported by continuous investment, is enabling aviation to meet the EU challenges in an ever-changing, competitive and circular economy.

1.2 New factory of the future opportunities aiming at supporting the aeronautical supply chain organisational and industrial competitiveness:

The White Paper “Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production: Accelerating Value Creation” from the World Economic Forum lists five key technologies that stand out by their broad applications and impact in countries, industries and value chain steps alike. These five technologies are the following:
• Internet of things (IoT), including Digital Twin technology,
• Artificial intelligence (AI),
• Advanced robotics,
• Wearables and 3D printing (additive manufacturing),
• Big Data technologies.

Combined and connected, these driving technologies are opening up new opportunities and prospective changes of decades-old mechanisms enabling then to create and distribute new value in the hyper-efficient and agile digitally-enabled factory of the future. Comprising three common global characteristics: connected, automated and flexible digital shop floor processes; new relationships between operators and machines; and the structure, location and scale of the factory.

The aeronautical community must follow the pace of Industry 4.0 to remain competitive. It requires to work in close partnership with policy-makers, business, academia and societal organizations. The following associated main enablers and recommendations have been identified:

• SRIA 2 Update: SRIA Vol 2 describes clusters of enablers and the related capabilities along with the R&I needs per challenge, to support the aeronautical sector supply chain in the dynamic global market. This updated strategic document emphasizes, among many others, the interaction of R&I Lifecycle with the efficient development and manufacturing processes to enhance the competitiveness in the OEMs supply chain, stressing the OEMs ambitious requirements setting to promote technologies development in competition among the different Tiers, for the 2020-time horizon. To both safeguard European autonomy and maintain a competitive and cost-efficient Aeronautics supply chain in Europe, it is recommended to assess the progress by adapting the Key Performance Indicator: no external barriers to exporting EU products .

• New materials: New advanced materials used extensively (encompassing various branches of both nanotechnology and biotechnology) are critical to achieve the hyper efficient and flexible factory of the future, which is a more digital, virtual and resource-efficient space. Through this connected environment, the evaluation of materials and manufacturing has to start at the conceptual design stage. The outcome will also have to consider the top-level aircraft and industrial requirements to best fit technology requirements with economic cost and rate objectives.

• New processes: The advanced Drivers of the Future of Manufacturing are currently exerting profound changes leading to new design and maintenance strategies as a whole; accompanied with novel processes and simulation evolvement. The shift to customization-oriented production focus on agility and responsiveness and the design process now integrates more industrial inputs via people collaborating (e.g. Industrial Architects). Iterative early loops between industrial and design related activities ensure cost and lead-time assessment. To function properly, this must be based on an End-to-End (E2E) data chain from design to shop floor, and a standard set of data & documents (AIPI) digitalized and seamlessly exchanged and shared. The associated tools and standards are already available, and the new supply chain associated with future projects build around them. Associated with this new design process, the role of simulation emerges. Its scope is being extended horizontally (E2E) and prepared for vertical expansion. Critical steps are mastered by simulation for line improvement and disturbance prevention. Furthermore, the new maintenance strategies where 3D printing allows rapid production of crucial replacement parts, open up a vast potential to create new product designs and functional capabilities.

• Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-enabled and real-time analytics with its own engine for decision-making is another feature of the factory of the future. The most promising immediate opportunities for applying AI in production systems are in quality management, predictive maintenance and supply chain optimization. AI technologies will create and change the value proposition across all domains. AI combined with IoT and analytics will improve asset efficiency, decrease downtime and unplanned maintenance, and allow manufacturers to uncover new sources of value in services. By employing digital twins, simulations and virtual reality, designers and operators will be able to harness interactive media to optimize design virtually, production processes and material flows. Altogether, advances in technologies will reduce energy consumption by 20–30%, while lead times can be cut by 20–50% by integrating IoT and analytics in operations.

• Big data: The emergence of Big Data technology and analytics is also bringing new reflexes and monitoring perspectives as captured data transforms into useful information building a knowledge-base and feeding design activities. Data (and exploitation data coming from customers) becomes one of the key assets of each company that is part of the design chain. This emerging cross-sectorial key enabler supported by cybersecurity measures must be managed correctly as critical information must be customised, classified and readily available for the elaboration of production and product-support scenarios. To this end, OEMs must establish priorities to ensure they build products that provide a range of performance features to meet customer requirements considering effective standardisation as an important enabler in support of a modular approach. Therefore, improved collaboration with suppliers will be achieved by sharing physical and digital resources and research is needed in the short- and mid-terms to simulate the value chain with data that include human, machine and industrial processes.

• Reorganisation of Supply Chains: The aeronautical sector is witnessing the supply chain integration into a global holistic IT landscape between different stages of production and the respective resource and information flow within a factory and across companies along the value chain. Countries with an advantageous geographic location and a strong, developed logistical sector can benefit from technology employed through established logistics services hubs to integrate local supply chains into global value chains.
It is worth noting that the aeronautical supply chain can be used as tool of competitiveness by providing a platform for an expanded competitive proposition within the manufacturing value chain. By regionalizing global production systems, innovations, such as 3D printing, could evolve as descaling devices, since they would have an immense impact on the integration into global value chains. Maintenance hubs located near secondary airports can evolve to handle the production of replacement parts that can be manufactured through 3D printing techniques.
2 Air transport operators’ and OEM innovative collaboration opportunities in the detailed design phases

SRIA points out that “Design of a customer-centric intermodal transport system: An integrated and intermodal transport system must be designed around future customer expectations, roles, profiles and societal acceptance factors. Market changes and opportunities must be fully embraced. In this context issues to be addressed include system architecture, interoperability standards, regulatory frameworks and network management needed for robust operations. To meet mobility performance goals, it is necessary to develop assessment, monitoring and forecasting capabilities for new concepts, infrastructure and demand scenarios.”
„There must be a collaborative approach to innovation, pooling the know-how of multiple stakeholders, including educational establishments, to accelerate the innovation process and provide the best possible response to customers’ needs.”
2.1 Air transport operators’ collaborative value chain organisational and business models’ evolution towards “Customer” centric approach:

• Current vision & challenges towards competitiveness increase: Challenge 1 of the newly updated SRIA states that „The customer is at the centre of the mobility vision set out in Flightpath 2050. This means that passengers, freight forwarders and shippers must be the clear focus of the transport sector in which aviation is a key player. This requires a paradigm shift from the current perspective, centred on the service provider, to one in which the customer comes first.”

“Customer centric” approach is not just about offering great customer service. It means offering a great experience from the awareness stage, throughout the whole traveling experience starting from the moment the customer steps outside its door. It is a strategy that is based on putting the customer first and at the core of the business. To put the customer in the centre of your business means to have customer-focused leadership, to first have a deep understanding of your customer, to design the experience for the customer, to take into consideration the customer’s feedback for continuous improvement.

Adopting a customer centric approach means to minimize customer effort and to maximize customer value, it requires to anticipate customers’ needs and offer products and services they may not have thought of, but will immediately appreciate. Thus, the customer centric companies create products, processes, policies and a culture that is designed to support customers with a great experience as they are working towards their goals. A very good example nowadays are the phone companies, maybe one of the most customer centric business in the world with the cycle of research, innovation, production, market very short (every 6 months they can release a new improved model) enabling them to always implement customers’ requests and meet their expectations.

As, the time to market for an improved aircraft model can take decades, the situation to cope with is a little bite more complex. But still, this does not prevent the air transport operators to implement a customer centric approach offering passengers an affordable and friendly experience while complying with environmental and energetical regulation. To achieve this goal, the air transport operators need to have reliable wide network schedule, to incorporate into their fleets ultra-modern aircraft, highlighting their commitment towards safety, comfort, and reliability for their passengers.

To put customer at the centre of the European air transport mobility vision (Strategic Research &Innovation Agenda, 2017 Update, Vol.1 ACARE) means to:
o Understand customer, market and societal expectations and opportunities – new processes, new technologies and services need to be developed to meet customers’ expectations,
o Design and implement an integrated, intermodal transport system – that will provide the customer with access to door to door services, safely, affordably, quickly, smoothly, seamlessly, predictably and without interruption,
o Develop capabilities to evaluate mobility concepts, infrastructure and performance – highly predictable and transparent for customers,
o Provide travel management tools for informed mobility choices – option for a single ticket for an entirely door-to-door journey including several means of transportation,
o Deliver mobility intelligence: journey information, data and communication – continuous access to data and applications,
o Provide tools for system and journey resilience, for disruption avoidance and management – by predictive tools to ensure service continuity, journey reconfiguration including change of mode and real-time information,
o Evolve airports into integrated, efficient and sustainable air transport interface nodes – through innovative approach towards safe, efficient, frequent, comfortable transport systems and services,
o Design and implement an integrated information, communication, navigation and surveillance platform – to address inter-modality and performance, satisfying the needs of all air vehicle types and missions,
o Develop future air traffic management concepts and services for airspace users – new business models and regulatory measures facilitate innovative and performance-driven services to airspace users,
o Address cross-cutting issues: system intelligence, human factors and automation support, autonomy and resilience – through new concepts, procedures, systems and technologies.

Customer centric approach is key, as the end-user to tools to evaluate the value (services-products / prices) of the air transport. With tools like online airline ticket comparators, customers are made aware of the price to be paid but not so much on its associated additional services. Thus, passengers want to get exactly what they paid for. The hotel industry is a good example of high awareness on the price and the product. Reservation websites provide complete view on available services for the customer and at which price.

The following associated main enablers and recommendations have been identified:

• New cabin configurations: Cabin environment represents an important part of passengers’ satisfaction, it also offers a major opportunity for differentiation and branding. It is also to be considered as the cabin crew working environment and as such influences their productivity and well-being.

Cabin must then be optimized for every mission and offers an appropriate environment for:
1. Reconfigurable cabin to fit demands through a smart cabin segmentation approach implemented at design stage:
▪ Adapting cabin to changes,
▪ Easy operations,
▪ Instant transformation,
▪ Reconfiguration in minutes.

2. Health and comfort:
▪ New catering models with premium quality food extends to non-premium classes,
▪ Information about on-board food,
▪ Enhance passenger well-being through air quality, subtitle lighting, low cabin altitude and quietness,
▪ Passenger’s space, the new generation of seats and overhead bins allow more on-board passengers with more space.

3. Enjoyable experience through a smart cabin connectivity environment to offer new on-board services (communication/entertainment, information, support and purchasing):
▪ Wireless access points to Internet and enhanced entertainment,
▪ Connectivity between passengers’ devices and on-board services,
▪ Texting and voice calls,
▪ Increase quantity and quality of real-time information sharing,
▪ New sale point: duty free, food and beverages, airline’s services, partner’s services, after flight services,
▪ Personalization of experience by the gathering of data,
▪ Connected objects for passengers and crew: baggage location and tracking, cabin indoor location, security equipment expiration warning, fasten seat-belt detection,
▪ Crew members connectivity: real-time cabin report to maintenance, real-time communication with ground services, enrich data provided for pilot.

• MRO: The high level of customization will obviously bring better passenger experience but also new requirements in terms of maintenance and repair operations. Such extensive choices will lead to higher costs (small scale series), longer lead times and less slot availability at MRO facilities.

Recommendations for future critical development work have been identified as follow:
1. Traceability of MRO with in situ data access to:
▪ Complete information,
▪ Easy access,
▪ In real-time,
▪ With limited resources and size tools.
2. Passenger oriented maintenance:
▪ Encourage MRO impacting passengers’ perception,
▪ Prioritize BOMs: Impact of a part on the subset,
▪ Consolidate data: with unit maintenance times,
▪ Scheduling of maintenance.

3. Data management:
▪ View of all part of the fleet,
▪ Support to decision,
▪ Proactive maintenance.
2.2 New innovation processes aiming at supporting air transport operators’ collaborative value chain organisational and business models’ competitiveness:

The identification of “Weak signals” represents a great opportunity for the whole aeronautical sector competitiveness to identify future customer’s needs: Given that future trends are somewhat predictable as they stem from today’s trends. A weak signal is an element that is anecdotic today but could become a trend on the mid to long term. “Weak signals” are much more implicit than “Strong signals”, it is a data that gives the feeling something significant, a change for example will occur or might occur in the company environment. This feeling is really close to intuition and should be analyzed collectively to interpret it. From a weak signal, innovation opportunities can appear. There is no concept or ideas but only a track that could lead to an innovation. The weak signal analysis is based on existing methodologies such as anticipative strategic watch , it can be used:
o To enable a more complete vision of the future opportunities,
o To consider the next evolution of the industry including its next R&I needs and related projects,
o To build a more representative R&I agenda and roadmap,
o In general, too reduce the risks of disruptions from competitors or innovations that could be quickly obsolete (answer a customer need that will decrease).

• A global “weak signals” methodology can be recommended as presented below :

1. Map the different potential areas of research:
List the different thematic linked or not to the company business. In the example hereafter, 11 thematic are identified. This mind-map must be generated collectively during a workshop.
2. Define the business impact probability of a domain,
3. Estimate when this domain will influence the company,
4. Compare the themes between them and select only those who will impact the most,
5. Plan the order of processing weak signal themes to be analysed.
6. Analyse through experimentation the relevance of the weak signal by interviewing experts of the domain (inside or outside the company).

Therefore, it is interesting to look for weak signals within the main aeronautics strategic domains as additional prospective enablers of the competitiveness of the whole air transport sector. This methodology must be a part of a global front-end innovation process to understand better the future clients’ needs, as the level of uncertainty is high and the risk of innovate into something too far away from the company usual business high.

• Other tool like Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is commonly used as a measure scale to assess the maturity of evolving technologies: Each step of the TRL scale is associated with a list of Readiness Assessment Criteria that are used during TRL assessment reviews to assess the level of maturity reached by a research domain or by a technology under development. It must be noted that this TRL approach is mostly used by the industry. Other forms of measurement (for example: the number and quality of publications, theses, etc., or the reusability of available results in different contexts) are used by academia or research centres to assess the value of the research that they produce. It is now required to consider both the progressive achievement of a technology performance against the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, as well as consider additional innovation related factors as recommended below:

o “Innovation” Level (TRL above 6): Technology development at higher TRL levels focuses mostly on detailing manufacturing, MRO aspects, standards, and (virtual) test and certification methods. Whereas the concept of these activities was often assessed at a previous State-of-the-Art review at lower TRL levels, the development of these activities needed for the production stage (e.g. manufacturing) typically requires quite some additional innovation. During this innovation process, the involvement of the supply chain is increasingly recommended to enable an efficient (digital) integration to be achieved. Referring to the production related areas gaps may be identified for example in high value manufacturing, exploration of the potential of operations and MRO, in innovative and optimised testing, in the development of standards, and in the streamlining of certification. In addition, it is often in this innovation phase that the critical “ramp-up” issues are encountered. Finance may then appear to be among the major bottlenecks to innovation. Public finance institutions devoted to support innovation can therefore be recommended to enable emerging innovations, especially when taking place at the beginning of the supply chain (e.g. at the 1-tier suppliers, 2 and 3).

o “Research and Development” Level (TRL up to 6): To contribute to the competitiveness of the aviation supply chain, research and development activities for technological, industrial and commercial applications have to be pursued. In fact, many initiatives and collective actions have already been implemented to improve the relationship between actors especially within the product co-development stage. For example, in recent years Airbus has implemented a "customization" control policy through the development of robust commodity platforms and a catalogue of options available to airlines. This initiative is mainly to avoid excessive customization but it also helps make the whole manufacturing process more agile. Many supporting actions have been launched namely: SPACE, BoostAeroSpace, AirSupply or the “Purchase Operation” in Airbus. Airbus also circulates good manufacturing practices within its network of subcontractors (deployment of project management, methodologies for Six Sigma and Lean, use of digital standards, etc.). Most aircraft manufacturers have established sets of requirements, audit and evaluation systems of their suppliers on industrial maturity topics. These requirements are focused on the supply chain, whole quality and industrial processes.

Despite all these existing initiatives, there are prospective recommendations to better manage future research and development progresses to be made regarding collaboration between stakeholders. In fact, the increased use of digitalization across the entire product life management process means that what should be exchanged and shared between design, manufacturing and testing/certification, operational, and maintenance actors is bringing up new R&I needs along with redefining the respective roles and responsibilities among the stakeholders. It will even impact and transform the economic and contractual models currently in use. It will be critical to promote more intense and broader research and development cooperation before and throughout the production stage, between customer and supplier as deemed necessary to facilitate the later ramp-up. This will most likely benefit competitiveness of European aviation companies through an improved efficiency of their production.

3 Aeronautical industry innovative collaboration opportunities for enhanced ramp-up management

The factory of the future concept is an opportunity to better contribute to the market expectations to quickly meet clients’ needs, create new services and so on. Industry 4.0 concept affects the entire aviation supply chain and product life cycle: from product design and development, to the operations management and logistics.

Therefore, Industry 4.0 has the potential to affect the current business models of the established manufacturing companies in the air transport sector. As such, the capture of data along the Product Life Cycle, from manufacturing to in service operation, will enable to promote new data-based services. This in fact will encourage new business models. The supplier-customer traditional relation will also be enhanced through new connectivity enlarging the production ecosystem, and the creation of new digital value chains including the participation of product and service providers. There may be seamless sharing of data and core competencies to develop products and services together at a speed and level of sophistication far beyond the reach of the current aeronautical industry. In this sense, big data and data analytics will constitute the raw material in a software-enabled landscape, for new product and service providers. In consequence, new business models are foreseen to focus rather on service design, open innovation and network approaches than on traditional concepts of industrial enterprises. New actors, like AirBnB or Booking, owning massive database on customers behaviours should then play a major role within the air transport communities.

3.1 Aeronautical industry evolution towards new ramp-up challenges:

• Current vision & challenges towards competitiveness increase: The ramp-up phase represents a complex step in the manufacturing process due to the need of matching the planned production rate while performing all the activities requested by the expected market demand. Nowadays, the major actors of the aviation sector must optimize their manufacturing process to fulfil the market opportunities limiting the time to market and the ramp-up period. Those objectives may be achieved only if all the supply chain actors are well coordinated. This is particularly true in case of participation of several different sub-contractors. The difference in their expertise, behaviour and available technology may be an obstacle to match the expected ramp up efficiency goal mostly due to the complexity of their combined integration work.

An efficient ramp-up process provides a support to manage complex systems assuring the implementation of all initiatives devoted to minimizing “Time to Market”, “Time to Volume” and “Time to Quality”. The effective collaboration between the manufacturers and their suppliers may be achieved after adopting common rules, standards and agreements identifying their specific responsibilities.

The aircraft manufacturers are strongly focused on minimizing the supply chain risks referring to the “rapid production rate” in ramp-up phase with delay or failure. A significant bottleneck has been identified by PwC through a dedicated survey: “... (21%) of suppliers are not financially ready to support the high ramp-up ahead of them.” [RD-04]. They represent events able to hardly impact the productive capacity creating a gap w.r.t. the capacity needed (see page 3, [RD-04].

3.2 New innovation processes aiming at supporting the aeronautical industry enhanced ramp-up management:

Over the recent years, the number and quality of aviation engineering students has not been kept up with the evolving and increasing demand of the European aviation sector. To reinforce and corroborate the global competitiveness of Europe in the dynamic global market, it is imperative that the AAT sector improves the quality and skills of its technicians in the plant, engineers, and researchers on a high level to fully benefit from new “digital” collaborative methods and tools. At a European level, “Education” is therefore a vital area that needs to be well-incorporated into funding programs like Clean Sky or H2020. As indicated in the IEC Factory of the Future White paper, a very important skill-need relevant to the future of the manufacturing industry is related to the improvement of information technology (IT) solutions. Those will involve all together conventional automation with cyber-physical systems as well as communications, information and communication technology (ICT), data and physical elements and the ability to connect devices to one another. Manufacturing education will thus also be faced with major challenges in the years to come. New skills will be required in the future. Towards that direction, an adaptation of the training content and its delivery mechanisms to the new requirements of knowledge-based manufacturing is required.

• Enhanced manufacturing education: One can only recommend the continuous provision of integrated engineering competencies and strong multi-disciplinary background. A manufacturing strategy focusing on digital business, extended production and virtual enterprises should thus be greatly considered. On the other hand, there is a growing need for the expansion of the technological aspect of education, with an extension of the ‘soft skills’. On top of that, within a global environment, key manufacturing oriented actors, such as human resources and knowledge/information, should certainly become more international. Engineers, technicians and blue-collar workers will need new lifelong learning schemes to be assisted in keeping up with the pace of change. The rapid advancements in manufacturing technology and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have set on manufacturing education an intense requirement for a continuous update of the knowledge content and delivery schemes. The comprehension of the technical essence and the business potential of new knowledge and technology are essential for its smooth adaptation and integration into the industrial working practice.

• Digitalization will prevent ramp-up issues: New technologies will then transform the way the industry approach ramp-up issues today: big-data & analytics, autonomous robots, simulation, Internet of Things, cybersecurity and augmented reality. All those tools will enable an improved digitalization of the industry. This digitalization of the industrial tools will able to directly connect the plant to the design office. This will increase the agility of the design teams and reinforce the understanding of actual or new manufacturing process. Being able to obtain and exploit this data from many different sources -production equipment, systems and enterprise- through mathematic (big data & analytics) tools will offer new possibilities to make real-time decision making. This agility is key during the ramp-up phases where many change must be implemented to resolve design to production critical issues. In Airbus, digitalization is being emphasized to improve production efficiency across all Airbus plants and programs, for example: connecting workers on the assembly line with the company’s back offices. “We have to fix a lot of quality issues every year, and digitalization should help us anticipate and eradicate the problems,” Brégier explained. In addition, those new technologies will allow to simulate increasingly precisely the industrial ramp-up and thus prevent harmful issues during the design phase..
• Block-chain and the supply chain: During the production and especially the ramp-up phase in a complex ecosystem such as the aeronautic supply chain, one of the main issue is knowing at all time where all their products are. Despite massive investment in digitalization, it remains quite complex as even if production is digitally recorded (which is still a big step for tier 2, 3 etc. companies), the moment it is shipped there is only a digital number showing where and to whom it is but not what it is. This result into a poor inventory management and production management.
With the increase of the supply chain complexity and its related ramp-up management issues there is an urgent need to implement an ecosystem supply-chain approach. This could be more likely be fulfilled thanks to new blockchain associated technology. “Blockchains make it possible for ecosystems of business partners to share and agree upon key pieces of information. But they can do it without having to appoint an intermediary and deal with all the complex negotiations and power plays that come with setting the rules before handing over really critical business information. Instead of having a central intermediary, blockchains synchronize all data and transactions across the network, and each participant verifies the work and calculations of others.”

Potential Impact:
To maintain and possibly improve the competitiveness of the European aviation sector, its whole supply chain will therefore need to go through a deeper digitalized mutation, up to implementing purely digital interfaces between airframes and suppliers at all levels of its design and manufacturing activities. To some extent, this should enable to connect all together suppliers with their respective IT systems, including also parts, products and other smart objects used for monitoring purposes. The supply chain should then be able to make better decision together, from innovation roadmap definition, through design phases and up to development and ramp-up management issues. Of course, customers’ needs, and expectations will also be better considered thanks to new real time and anticipation capacity.

The aeronautical supplier-customer traditional value chain will then also be enhanced through those new connectivity opportunities enabling an enlarged global ecosystem and the creation of new related digital value chains supporting the emergence of new product and service providers. Associated true innovation opportunities will shortly contribute to complete the customer approach of the value-chain to offer the end-user a global transport experience.

Mobility as a Service will then no longer be considered as such as a threat to air transport competitiveness but rather as a powerful enabler of prospective new business opportunities. Extended collaboration between all actors of the person mobility will thus be the only way to overcome the remaining barriers to propose a truly cost efficient and competitive intermodal passenger transport offer. This future achievement will obviously also require the full involvement of European public and private institutional and policymaker stakeholders of the transport sector.

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