Imagine a jet engine that tells you which parts need redesigning. Imagine equipment that let you know when internal parts were wearing. What if your equipment told you when a drop in efficiency occurred? Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) makes all these scenarios possible. In fact, they are more than possible. They are at work and changing aerospace and defense business models.

Big Data — Big is not a Powerful Enough Word

The entire process starts with the Internet of Things. This is nothing new for the aerospace or Defense Industry (see industries). What is new is the technology that helps companies take data collection to a brand new level.

Imagine being able to create a seamless network that connects loT and Big Data to a digital platform. What do you gain? In short, you gain all the value that both loT and Big Data can provide. In the longer sense, you gain smart products that drive new product lines. Imagine being able to build smarter parts with data proven designs. What if your designs had built-in cost lowering structures?

Lower costs are just one of the benefits. What if data not only showed past mistakes but also allowed for the correction of future mistakes now? Wouldn’t that power allow your company to change business decisions now? Wouldn’t that allow you to better navigate the business climate as it unfolds? Well, it does all these things. By collecting Big Data, and using predictive software for aerospace and defense, you gain insight, especially for aerospace government contracting. That insight allows you to change the future. Sounds a lot like magic, but it is more like advanced science. Here are some of the key components of this process.

Overly Sensitive Works

We already know that adding sensors to machines makes them smart. But what if we add more machines and parts that were smarter? What if your aircraft engine (like the one from Pratt & Whitney engine) showed you all the weak points and all its strengths? Could you not build a better jet engine by looking at the data from all those sensors? If you did build a better jet engine wouldn’t that save you design, labor, and operational costs? In fact, would that not allow you to out-compete your competition?

Artificial intelligence is been used for the PurePower PW1000G engine from Pratt & Whitney. Sensors are predicting the engine demands and adjusts thrust accordingly. Key to making such engine work was installing a large number of sensors – over 5,000 of them. Its predecessors, PW6000 and PW8000 had less than 100 sensors. The results = the engine burns less fuel, cleaner air, quieter skies and overall: greater savings.

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Picture shows PW1217G Engine Ground Testing

Competition is often about being first to market. Big Data and loT are not about compiling a lot of data, but about utilizing it in a smart way. For companies that plug-in to Big Data the doors open. This moves beyond making smart decisions and into the area of creating new services. The potential is becoming more useful to your customers. In short, you gain new service offerings that help your customers succeed. That dependency is key to new partnerships and increased revenue streams. Those benefits come from adding sensors and smart software to parts. The capability of harnessing data and creating usable information allows growth. Your company and your customer’s companies grow and that boosts income streams for both.

Optimize Efficiency

Efficiency is a key component to income. The more efficient a process is the less it costs. If your goal is to accumulate data, then you need to have the capability of analyzing data efficiently. In so doing, you gain more opportunities to streamline your company’s processes. In short, being efficient helps reduce costs for materials, time, labor, and operating expenses. All these reductions occur because sensors produce data that your aerospace manufacturing software reads. Predictive trends are one of the rewards of Big Data.  Reduction in menial tasks is another benefit.

The key is not the data, but the digital platform that makes sense of the data. The gains to going digital are amazing. Imagine a machine that tells you it needs service. Imagine a part that tells you it is wearing out and needs replacing. Imagine these trends across your entire company. What happens if predictive aerospace manufacturing software begins to show you trends and highlight problems? Can you not alter practices to avoid those problems? That is the beginning of how Big Data and Digital Platform solutions benefit aerospace. What if your digital platform showed you which parts of your machine is causing problems? Could you not redesign that part to improve efficiency? Would you not be able to see where product quality or even delivery issues would occur? Not only could you see these issues you would see them in their infancy. Predictive trends become a tool by which your company excels.

Beyond Aerospace and Defense industries

Big Data and predictive software for aerospace and defense enable. They help you find opportunities that exist beyond aerospace manufacturing companies. The enable you to develop symbiotic relationships with companies and customers in adjacent markets. These benefits boil down to the speed by which data flows. In short, that means real-time capabilities and the visual tools to see things as they occur. For management and leadership, that means informed decisions that are customizable in real-time. That capability is beneficial to other industries including the security and public safety industries.

The Core of Capability

As mentioned, Big Data is only as good as the software that translates it. SAP HANA digitizes the Internet of Things and drives data conversion. In so doing, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and product quality increase. Those benefits drive performance and bottom line revenue.

To find out more about Digital Transformation for the Aerospace & Defense Industry, click here.

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