On Tuesday, May 3-4, Dassault Systèmes will be sponsoring and participating in the SpeedNews 4th Annual Aerospace Manufacturing Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. This two-day event will bring together the leaders of major manufacturers and suppliers in the aerospace industry to discuss manufacturing capabilities and processes, innovation within manufacturing, modern machining technologies and automation, as well as industry trends.
This year, the conference will once again focus on all key manufacturing aspects including: tooling, machining, components, electronics, advanced materials engineering, and technological systems. In addition it will cover what is really behind the hype of Internet of Things (IoT), Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Big Data and how the Auto and Aerospce industries learn from each other. Ultimately, participants will be presented with real examples of products and knowledge that will help and inspire them to improve the productivity and profitability for their own operations. They will also have the opportunity to network with experts in the aerospace manufacturing industry.
On the second day of the conference, Dassault Systèmes’ Director of the Aerospace and Defense Ideas Lab Jeff Smith will be featured among other industry experts in a panel on additive manufacturing, titled “Additive Manufacturing – Latest Applications in Aerospace, with a specific focus on the latest applications and technology in aerospace. We had the opportunity to catch up with Jeff Smith and get his thoughts on innovation and technology trends in the aerospace industry.
Q: What role does technology play in innovation?
A: The innovation race will be won by whoever enables new technologies in the product life-cycle the fastest. For example, the aerospace industry is rapidly embracing advanced engineered materials, simulation and optimization technologies and additive manufacturing. All these technologies are going to enable the Aerospace industry to build aircraft that can fly faster and further, using less fuel and creating fewer emissions, and produced more quickly and cost-effectively. Air travel in 10-20 years is going to look very different than it does now.
Q: You’ll be speaking on a panel about Additive Manufacturing next week at the SpeedNews conference. What is Additive Manufacturing, and why should aerospace companies embrace this process?
A: Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it’s more commonly known, is an advanced production process where complex parts are produced by melting and building up layer upon layer of material. It’s been heavily used throughout the prototyping process over the past two decades, but now the industry is pursuing using this technology to produce production components and parts. As part of the manufacturing process, additive manufacturing can deliver a range of benefits such as reducing waste by up to 90% and eliminate mistakes that impact quality and cost. It can also reduce time to market by eliminating part-tooling fabrication, eliminate stockpiles of parts and complex supply chains, and deliver major energy savings and sustainability – as I like to say, no waste, no mistakes, and no surprises. Beyond its benefits for speed and logistics, additive manufacturing can enable the creation of parts and objects that simply aren’t possible to produce via traditional manufacturing means.
Q: So what is the next milestone in bringing additive manufacturing to the forefront of the Aerospace industry? What’s around the corner for Aerospace?
A: Bringing all of the technology disciplines together with collaborative design technologies is what will bring the promise of additive manufacturing from the research lab to the sky. For example, as an industry, material science will develop new engineered materials that are better suited to additive manufacturing processes, simulation and optimization capabilities will enable multi-scale optimization from “atoms to airplanes”, robotics will instill new hybrid manufacturing techniques in creating the “future factory today”, and finally certification techniques will enable certification on demand to support the multi-scale optimization. The integration of these pillars within the system of work will indeed excite today’s aerospace students to be part of the future Aerospace workforce of tomorrow in developing innovation Aerospace systems. Even now this means getting teams of additive manufacturing experts working together with next-generation simulation software to ensure we can digitally replicate new composite materials with the same consistency as we can with traditional materials like titanium and aluminum. Then we need to make sure we can mass-produce these materials in the same fashion.
From another perspective, the industry is going to see an uptick in aviation startups attracting attention. Though the Aerospace industry has significant barriers to entry for smaller companies, the advancement of additive manufacturing and cloud based systems (including design, simulation, and management capabilities), is making it easier for startup companies to overcome those barriers.
To register for the SpeedNews event, click here.