Digitalization: new opportunities for the aviation market

2021-04-27 / 2 min

The commercial and defence aviation industries have a long history of business innovation, technological leadership, and data-driven operations. These operations include aircraft maintenance activities, the parts supply chain, and detailed logistics. However, it is ironic that within such a hi-tech industry like aviation, the majority of the aftermarket services are still not leveraging digital innovation to bring value to customers. The degree of manual intervention required for aftermarket services – to ensure on-time deliveries – is an industry-defining issue.

Currently, the aviation industry is slowly but surely progressing towards a new normal in the space created and catalysed by the global events of 2020. Only by the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced computing methods, and augmented reality (AR) it is possible to ensure long-term sustainability and change within the industry.

Embracing data-driven technological advancements in aviation has been a topic of great importance for companies looking to improve their operational efficiency. With some technological advancements, like self-check-in points at airports being a now common service, the next step for the digitalization of the industry is already on its way in the field of aftermarket services.

Start-ups focused on addressing the issues of the sector, and looking to tap into the emerging market of digital aviation are being founded daily in hopes of becoming the next unicorn of the av-industry. One such industry player, founded in 2010, is a global aviation parts marketplace, Locatory.com, and has successfully challenged the old normal in the parts’ procurement process. Since its inception, the company has evolved to become a dominant online spare parts marketplace. This has been achieved by offering cost-effective solutions to its clients, while at the same time investing in R&D and presenting its customer base with cutting edge technology, such as their A. I. powered procurement assistant Amber AI.

By employing advanced e-commerce and data processing solutions, Locatory.com has successfully leveraged the benefits of digitalization to reduce delivery times considerably. Updated algorithms and systems opened up possibilities for clients to list their stock in record-breaking times. Additionally, by taking on clients from all over the world, the company has offered its clients an intelligent and flexible, yet cost-effective solution to procure and deliver spare aircraft parts.

“Industrial manufacturers are steadily providing more aftermarket services—the broad category that includes the sale and delivery of maintenance, spare parts, and other value-added services. We continue to

see the rise of a technology-comfortable generation in procurement organizations; our predictions say that digital channels will continue to replace traditional ways of doing business, and reinvent old formats being used at the moment into something unseen, providing efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and price reduction while benefiting the customer in the end.” – comments the CEO of Locatory.com Dainius Meilunas.

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Aviation going green: 3D printing

2021-04-15 / < 1 min

3D printer manufacturers have been closely observing the needs of the aircraft industry for some time now. As air traffic is slowly recovering, and the total volume is expected to roughly double over the next fifteen years. Even today, the industry is already under heavy load, as building and maintaining freight and passenger aircraft is a growing challenge. Coming up with customized solutions to cater the growing needs of aviation industry,  3D print enables faster and cheaper manufacture of components, spare parts with no material losses and practically of any shapes.

The biggest challenge for the use of flying 3D-printed parts in aviation is certification. Every part destined to fly has to be monitored continuously from raw material to end product, and there cannot be any defects. Never the less, cost-efficient 3D printing for aviation industry could reduce fuel consumption, material costs and lower CO2 emissions. Also, enable faster production of complex and discontinued parts and could see MROs able to make their own design improvements. Manufacturing could be performed precisely when needed. Another advantage: demand-driven additive manufacturing does not generate any of the excess.

According to the forecasts in the recently published results of studies carried out by Research and Markets, the 3D print market in aerospace will grow by 23.01% until 2021. The industry has already been using additive technology successfully, while aerospace giants declare that there will be more areas for 3D print breakthrough implementation in their sector.

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Emergency equipment, safety first!

2021-04-08 / < 1 min

The decision by many airlines to spread their limited flying among more planes than usual to be ready for a sharp increase in demand could also drive more maintenance spending as manufacturers consider requiring some work to be done regardless of flight hours.

Although the airline industry does not expect passenger traffic to rebound to 2019 levels until 2024, the forecasts for spending on airframe maintenance is, that it will recover to 2019 levels by 2022.

For example, most of the tasks related to the air conditioning system need to be done every 2,000 flight hours, normally about six months. But if the plane only flies 400 hours in six months, the check might be moved up to 1,600 hours to account for the longer passage of time.

Airlines with planes “siting on the ground” due to pandemic are cutting costs by delaying some maintenance tasks like changing life vests, testing oxygen bottles and etc. This allows airlines to stop the clock on a category of parts that would otherwise need checks. But this, also means that it will take longer to reactivate planes.

In the highly regulated world of airplane maintenance, the frequency of many tasks is determined by the number of take-offs and landings or flight hours. But others, such as life vests and portable oxygen bottles, have a fixed schedule for replacement.

The mass return to service of grounded aircraft expected over the next two years and this could create a maintenance-demand “bubble”.

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