Feb 18, 2021

Aviation: are nanoscale materials the cure for emissions?

AMRC
Sustainability
aviation
COVID19
Georgia Wilson
2 min
Aviation manufacturing
AMRC partners with 16 industrial partners on the MASTRO project to develop intelligent bulk materials to reduce manufacturing and aviation GHG emissions...

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) announces its partnership with 16 industrial partners on the MASTRO project furthering its involvement in Horizon 2020.

The MASTRO project

“There are three sections within MASTRO: automotive, infrastructure and aerospace; and the AMRC is leading the aerospace section of the project alongside Embraer. We’re developing three main technologies: self-cure, self-anti-icing and self-sensing,” commented Matthew Collinson, Research Engineer in the AMRC Composite Centre.

As part of the project, the AMRC team are working to develop materials via the integration of carbon nanotubes to turn into smart products. As aviation transitions to electrification, the technologies are centred on the electrically conductive nature of the composite structure.

“For the first year-and-a-half we’ve been working on developing the materials and so the next stage is developing the smart demonstrators. Now we’ve reached a point where we can build a section of a composite leading-edge wing – to show off the self-cure, self-anti-icing and self-sensing we have developed,” added Collinson.

MASTRO projects overall objective is to develop intelligent bulk materials that incorporate self-responsive properties to increase consumer safety, component life-span and performance, as well as reducing maintenance, manufacturing costs, and through-life greenhouse gas emissions.

The impact of COVID-19

Whilst COVID-19 has caused work on the MASTRO project to slow down briefly over the summer, the project plans to conduct a physical demonstration imminently. 

“We started the latest work package at the start of 2020, which was making the two demonstrators – which have slightly different properties, then finishing the design and starting to manufacture. We have been delayed but we have now manufactured our first self-curing, self-anti-icing and self-sensing part and can start testing very soon,” commented Collinson.

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May 12, 2021

Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers

SmartManufacturing
DigitalTransformation
DigitalFactory
ConnectedFactory
2 min
57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support smart manufacturing digitalisation

With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.

While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.

“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.

“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”

Change Management

Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.

“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.

Technology and People

While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.

“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.

Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.

Discover Gartner's Five Best Practices for Post COVID-19 Innovation' in manufacturing.

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