Friday, July 15, 2016

Future Requirements of Aerospace Engineering Business

Information Source :

In last few weeks I read this major news on air pollution; 1. ‘Fresh air is for sale’ in China, A Canadian Start-up Company is selling fresh air in China’s major cities and the first 500 bottles (of 7 liters) have been sold quicker than expected. 2. Delhi government has enforced an experimental plan of odd-even concept to reduce the number of vehicles on road to reduce percentage of man-made CO2 and the government is also thinking stop the registration of new high-powered diesel vehicles. And, on 05-Jan, Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of Mercedes and other premier companies argument saying ‘Will your cars emit Oxygen’….? About news are related to emission. May be above solutions are short term precautionary measures.

The long-run solution is, to design and build vehicles which emit less CO2. The engineering industry is under tremendous pressure to reduce the CO2. From major OEMs and Tier 1s, lot of experiments and researches are happening to reduce CO2 and NOx and it turned as major challenge to the engineering industry.
Even Aerospace industry is also facing same issues on CO2 emission. “ACARE Chairman, Peter Hartman says “Attitude towards to Environmental issues because of increase in airline traffic; ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research) in Europe in 2002 laid out targets to reduce the emission; 50% reduction in CO2 ; 50% reduction in perceived noise; 80% reduction in NOx by 2020”.

Below picture shows a percentage of ‘greenhouse gas emissions’ by industry-wise:

                                                  Picture source from internet

Possible probable ways to reduce the amount of CO2 and NOx irrespective of industry are; increase of structural efficiency, development of advanced engines, design of light weight structures using advanced metallic materials and composites, correct estimation of loads and use of right factors, timely weight reduction campaigns, alternate fuels, improved aerodynamics etc.
In Sep and Nov 2014 I posted two articles on the role of advanced metallic and composites materials in aerospace industry. In order to reduce CO2 use of advanced materials is one of the major options available. Apart from aerospace industry the industries like automotive, rail and wind energy industries seeing huge benefit from this.

About Aerospace industry:
The man-made CO2 from commercial aviation is only up to 2% but the CO2 emission per passenger per kilometer is 153gms which is much higher compared to other mode of transports. Hence, aerospace industry is also under tremendous pressure to reduce emission of CO2.

                                                  Picture source from internet

Since future requirements for number of aircrafts are much higher compared to last few decades, IoT also expected to play a vital role in manufacturing engineering. This is basically to increase rate of production with minimized errors. But, advanced engineering design and developments is the one which is expected to  bring emissions down.
  • As per one of the Boeing report, first century of composites is between 1940-2040, in that 75 years have been passed and more research and developments have been carried out from aerospace industry. As a result of this both Airbus and Boeing are able to design and build the aircrafts with 50 plus percentage of composites. The aerospace industry has seen huge benefit from the use of composites which reduced the weight, CO2 emission and certain extent noise level. The use of composites will also bring a more pleasant environment for passengers as it will allow considerate increase in cabin humidity.
Both Airbus and Boeing are working on new technologies which shall further improve aerodynamic efficiency at reduced weight with less CO2 emission. Some of them are;
From Airbus:
  • Under mission of ‘Aircraft future 2050 Vision – Eco Climb, Express skyways, Free glide approach, Ground operations and Power’
  • Working on ‘Laminar flow experiment on wing section’ along with GKN and Saab
From Boeing and NASA:
  • Working on reduced vertical with active flow control technology under mission ‘Smaller Tails and Big breakthroughs’
  • Non-stick wings to get rid planes of bug guts
  • Shapeshifting of Aircraft wings
As per reports, surely and shortly these researches and experiments are becoming reality will bring huge benefit to the commercial aircraft category. The outcome of some of these researches can be implemented in existing flying aircrafts as retrofits and some in new designs.
Apart from Boeing and Airbus other premier companies like Bombardier and Embraer are also investing lot in composites and advanced technologies.
  • Bombardier is following in Boeing's footsteps with regard to introducing large-scale composite structures in making commercial aircrafts. Bombardier management knows that composites are the way to go. This is the future.
  • Embraer says that, Lightning strike, repair, durability under impact, post-buckling, metal-composite interfaces, are some of those signs. These issues are being analyzed and continue being a challenge. Knowing about that, Embraer has been investing in trainings and incentives the development.
The global advanced composites market is growing at a faster rate mainly due to the growing demand in aerospace & defense, automotive, and wind energy applications. In order to meet the increasing demand from global markets, the leading companies recently invested heavily to increase their production capacities. Investments are also being made in research facilities to develop new technologies that reduce the manufacturing cost.

About Engineering Services companies:
  • In changed scenario of business trend and requirements engineering services companies need to do more with ‘engineering’ than ‘services’ alone. This also indicates that, in future, services type job opportunities are coming down and it will surely affect the growth of some companies who does not understand the value of engineering.
  • In contradiction to this, some engineering services companies are optimizing the cost by removing people at senior level. To meet future requirements the companies need to improve their technical strength otherwise, today’s their decision might become expensive for such companies as the dimension of the business changing.
  • With current gained experience the companies shall do same type of work but that type of work may not come again. Since the future requirements are different, different approach need to be adopted. Otherwise, this increases unemployment rate.
  • In last two decades Indian aerospace industry has not able to create and develop 10 designated chief engineers but, managed to create few hundred PMP holders.
  • More qualified graduates (PhD’s and Master graduates) need to spend their time in providing solutions to technical problems, innovation and competency development areas. In one of interview Airbus senior vice president said future lies in new competency, technology and innovation.
  • In India universities/institutes are producing more BE/M Tech qualified graduates than the requirement but industries need to make them as good engineers.

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