Several years ago, Airbus, a leading aerospace company, proposed the concept of “Factory of the Future.” This is a project includes the automation of production lines, robotic applications, digitalization, and IoT. Manufacturing and assembling aircraft is a highly complicated process in which there are tens of thousands of steps that have to be completed by operators. It is noteworthy that a single mistake made in this process can require as many as hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. As a consequence, Airbus has been seeking a more efficient production process and embracing innovations to avoid the large sum of costs incurred by human error.
One of the key features of IoT is the ability to provide real-time information. By adding smart intelligence to the tools and manufacturing system, production efficiency can be improved. The predictive capability of these smarter devices prevents humans error from happening. They automatically adjust the tools to the proper settings and make it easier for operators to perform their tasks. With IoT, assembly line workers can be empowered with “live data” that is constantly being generated rather than “past/dead data”.
Airbus has been developing three smart tool families that can be utilized in different stages of the production process: drilling, measuring, and quality data logging and tightening. However, “Factory of the Future” is an ongoing research and technology project. Perhaps soon there will be innovations made in the production process.
- Phillip Tracy. (September 19th, 2016). “Airbus uses industrial IoT to build a factory for the future.” RCR Wireless News. Retrieved from http://www.rcrwireless.com/20160919/big-data-analytics/industrial-iot-airbus-tag31-tag99
- “Factory of the Future.” (2016). Airbus Group. Retrieved from http://www.airbusgroup.com/int/en/story-overview/factory-of-the-future.html
- “Developing Smart Tools for the Airbus Factory of the Future.” (2015). Industrial Internet Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.iiconsortium.org/case-studies/NI-Airbus_case_study.pdf
Source of featured image: National Instruments