The BAE Systems facility in northwestern England has assembled military aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, for more than half a century. And today, the old hangers on the vast grounds have become testbeds for the production of the next generation of fighters.
The British Defense Champion builds a “factory of the future” in Warton, Lancashire, experimenting with robots and advanced manufacturing techniques to create a test structure for the British Air Force fighter Tempest, which is scheduled to fly from 2035. Did. ..
The project is still in the planning stage, but the challenges for the companies involved, such as Rolls-Royce of the aircraft engine group, Leonardo’s UK branch of Italy, Siemens engineer, and dozens of small suppliers, are roughly developing fighters. Is to build. Half the time of the previous program.
To achieve that, “fundamental changes” are needed in the design and manufacture of fighters, says Dave Holmes, BAE’s director of technology and manufacturing.
It is important to increase the level of automation. From the concept engineering phase to manufacturing, “digital threads” provide real-time data and visibility as your work progresses. “I’ve never been there before,” Holmes explains.
At one end of the factory, engineers are using new robotic technology to complete a demonstration model of the front fuselage of an aircraft. BAE and its partners used standard robots, but with a 10x increase in accuracy to assist in prototyping. When complete, the front torso marks an “important stepping stone,” Holmes says.
According to Holmes, this exam aims to answer the following questions: “Can we all process the same digital data, can we use robots to get the accuracy we need, or can we always capture the DNA of all our activities?”
BAE factories are a typical effort around the world to imagine what the factory will look like in the future. Whether it’s robotics or 3D printing, the goal is to make the manufacturing process more efficient, less energy consuming and cheaper.
The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the progress of automation and digitization. Companies recognize that they cannot always rely on employees on the shop floor.
Ben Morgan — Research Director, University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research CenterHaving worked closely with BAE at the factory, is an example of what can be achieved, demonstrating the UK’s success in developing NHS ventilators. He states that the company’s industrial consortium has succeeded in “manufacturing a ventilator for 10 years in just 10 weeks.”
Overall, the Covid-19 crisis “accelerated people’s thinking about digitization,” says Morgan. Instead of people “thinking about it, they had to do it”, they used simulations to map manufacturing site processes so that people could be socially distanced. Is given as an important example.
Chief Technology Officer, Mark Maybury At Stanley Black & Decker, US industrial tool and security product manufacturers also turned to technology at the outset of the crisis. Maybury has developed “digital dashboards” for various sites in the company, showing which employees are sick and which are not sick and have a general risk level.
The company has also deployed smart sensors in its factories that alert workers if they get too close to others during a crisis.
Automated factories generate large amounts of data. For many, the ultimate goal is to link everything from robots, sensors, and other factory equipment so that all stages of the manufacturing process can be closely monitored. As a result, engineers can change tools and processes, improving efficiency.
In an ideal world, companies connect to their customers’ systems to forecast demand and automatically adjust production. This enables seamless manufacturing and may allow you to schedule processes favorably at specific times. For example, when energy is cheap.
In the UK, AMRC engineers said Future 5G factory Test next-generation wireless connectivity in manufacturing. According to Morgan, the goal is to collect data and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to “go from hindsight to insight development and ultimately to foresight.”
“We want to be able to predict what will happen in a process before it happens, before a tool fails, or before a robot tracks a path that it doesn’t want to track,” he explains. ..
With a more agile way of working, companies can also test their designs and change their designs accordingly. Ultimately, this reduces the certification or certification time required to deliver the product to the customer.
Despite concerns that increased automation could destroy jobs, many manufacturers have emerged from the pandemic warning of a shortage of skilled workers. A Last year’s report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute It turns out that the pandemic is exacerbating the lack of skills. It is estimated that a skill gap in the US manufacturing industry could prevent 2.1 million jobs from being filled by 2030.
Executives acknowledge that some manual work is likely to disappear by 2050, but as new technologies develop, more engineers, data scientists, and engineers will be needed.
Maybury of Stanley Black & Decker claims that there is “real potential” in the use of automation. He says manufacturers need to not only redesign their plants, but their jobs as well. This requires ensuring that people are taught the right kind of skills, such as robotic welding and advanced analytics.
“Our vision is for operators to operate the robot, maintain it, design and design it, and ultimately oversee the human and robot team,” he says.
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