One of the most bandied-about technology terms is artificial intelligence (AI), which, depending on what you believe, either promises to dramatically improve the way we do business or threatens to make humans redundant. AI has become important enough to be identified as a technology trend likely to disrupt business during the next three years and prompt aerospace and defense (A&D) executives to invest in it.
According to Launchpad to Relevance: Aerospace & Defense Technology Vision 2018, professional services firm Accenture’s annual review, two-thirds of the 30 A&D executives surveyed said their companies will invest in AI in the next year, with many focusing initially on production, security, and research and development. Four in five said they expect everyone in their workforce to be directly affected daily by an AI-based decision by 2021.
I find that to be a startlingly rapid acceptance of AI, and I wonder how much that vision is shared throughout the supply chain. If decision-makers at the original equipment manufacturers see value in AI, their suppliers should also be paying attention.
In searching for a good definition of AI, I learned that although the term was coined in 1956, it has evolved to have several different meanings. Most definitions involve a machine’s ability to perform tasks associated with human intelligence, adaptable to changing circumstances. These can be sensor-based – visual perception, speech recognition, language translation, and simple decision-making – or they can be more advanced cognitive functions, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from experience. While such definitions can conjure dystopian visions of newly smug computers or robots seizing power from hapless humans, the reality is less dire.
As business, technology, and Big Data expert Bernard Marr explains in a recent Forbes magazine article, “The key definitions of artificial intelligence (AI) that explain its importance,” most AI development today uses human reasoning as a guide to provide better services or create better products rather than trying to achieve a perfect replica of the human mind.
While the examples Marr gives are software or services-related (Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft), manufacturing – especially A&D leadership – is not far behind in embracing AI. It’s seen as a way to address the skills gap as more senior workers retire at the same time production is ramping up. The entry level for AI that’s being embraced by manufacturers is virtual and augmented reality – extended reality. One example is assembly tasks aided by diagrams projected onto a part, guiding workers on the sequence for installing fasteners. (See Upskill article, p. 60.)
Nearly all (96%) of the A&D survey respondents believe extended reality will help close the physical distance gap when engaging employees or customers. Yet only 57% replied they will invest in extended reality in the next year – slightly less than the 67% who are investing in AI.
Perhaps spending on AI will bear fruit by enabling workers to automate routine tasks and procedures, a process as familiar as issuing commands to digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. The rewards could be greater productivity, less variability, and a more flexible workforce. – Eric
This custom-designed, triple-action draw press has a 600-ton capacity main ram/punch, 300-ton
An Allen-Bradley Panelview 1000 Plus electronic press control offers touchscreen setup of each cylinder for pressure, distance, speed, and dwell. Programs and up to 100 jobs are stored in the control. Closed-loop pressure control compensates for temperature variation and allows
Greenerd Press & Machine Co. Inc.
IMTS 2018 booth #236402
Customized design and build options are being added to existing Fixture-Pro,
The Fixture-Pro modular
IMTS 2018 Booth #432154
Multi-spindle automatic lathe
The MS40-8 automatic lathe for high- volume precision work has eight CNC spindles – two back-working for rear machining – deploying up to 18 CNC X and Z slides and additional Y axes, if required.
The MS40-8 handles chuck parts or bar stock through the Index MBL40-8 bar loader. The 110mm chuck allows machining of pre-formed, forged, or extruded parts up to 80mm. For simple parts, the machine can be used as a double 4-spindle machine, cutting cycle times in half.
With the increased number of main spindles and tool carriers, the MS40C-8 can machine complex parts in one operation. Up to two pivoting synchronized spindles can work on up to seven rear end-machining tools: four of them can be live. Two rear machining tools can work simultaneously on the workpiece.
Each spindle is independently programmable, so it is possible to machine troublesome materials previously not suitable for multi-spindle machines. Speed changes are also possible during drum indexing, resulting in no additional downtime.
Live tools can be set up on the compound slides, allowing multiple machining operations, such as off-center drilling, thread cutting, inclined drilling, cross drilling, contour milling, hobbing, bevel gear cutting, and multi-edge turning.Index Traub
IMTS 2018 Booth #338136
German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the 2018 Berlin ILA air show and welcomed more than 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries.
“She visited our stand and showed great interest in Liebherr’s activities and capabilities in aerospace,” says Arndt Schoenemann, managing director of Liebherr-Aerospace - Lindenberg GmbH and vice president for equipment and materials at the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI).
Liebherr-Aerospace presented its spoiler-actuator valve block, the first 3D-printed primary flight control hydraulic component flown on an Airbus A380 test aircraft. Liebherr-Aerospace representatives also participated in panel discussions on topics including cooperation with Boeing on its 777X program. Liebherr-Aerospace’s highlight in the Career Workshop, organized by the BDLI, involved an Airbus A350 nose landing gear more than 4m tall. www.airbus.com; www.boeing.com; www.liebherr.com
HondaJet Elite increases
range, reduces noise
Honda Aircraft Co.’s HondaJet Elite extends the original
The HondaJet Elite is type certified by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). www.hondajetelite.com
Boeing recognizes GH Tool & Mold
G.H. Tool & Mold, a Tooling Tech Group company and a supplier of die-cast tooling and machining services, accepted a 2017 Boeing Performance Excellence Award for maintaining a gold composite performance rating every month from October 2016 to September 2017. The company has supplied assembly and support tooling to Boeing for 10 years, receiving the Performance Excellence Award in either the gold or silver category for seven of the last eight years.
Boeing evaluates all its suppliers for quality, delivery, cost competitiveness, and service. Achieving gold status recognition requires meeting delivery and quality targets 100% of the time. This year, Boeing awarded 414 suppliers with the Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Only 85 achieved gold status.
“When you consider that Boeing has nearly 13,000 suppliers globally, the honor in achieving this status cannot be overstated,” says G.H. Tool & Mold President Dave Graves. “We are extremely proud of our team and their dedication to serving customers at this ongoing level of excellence.” www.boeing.com; www.toolingtechgroup.com
OSG USA to distribute SOMTA tools
OSG USA Inc. is now exclusively distributing SOMTA brand tools in the U.S. Founded in 1954, SOMTA is South Africa’s largest manufacturer of round cutting tools, including drills, reamers, end mills, bore cutters, and taps which are available in a wide range of sizes using various materials and quality surface coatings to extend tool life. www.osgtool.com; www.somtausa.com
Global line expands
Bombardier has launched the Global 5500 and 6500 business jets, extending the range of its Global 5000 and 6000 jets by 500nm to 1,300nm. Wings with re-profiled trailing-edge technology and purpose-built Rolls-Royce Pearl engines give the aircraft better cruise performance. A wide cabin incorporates a forward galley with high-end appliances, 4K-enabled entertainment system, and multiple- position Nuage seating.
Bombardier has renamed its flagship Global 7000 business jet the Global 7500, noting its increased range and enhanced performance.
The Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 engines powering the Global 5500 and 6500 are the first of a planned engine family for business aviation. The Pearl is the sixth new civil aerospace engine introduced by Rolls-Royce in the past 10 years. It combines technologies derived from Rolls-Royce’s Advance2 technology demonstrator programs with features from the Rolls-Royce BR700 business aviation jet engine to support ultra-long-range corporate jets.
The Pearl 15 (shown above) will deliver up to 15,125 lb of thrust – up to 9% more thrust during take-off than the BR700 – but will be 2dB quieter, offer 7% improvement in specific fuel consumption (SFC), and have low NOx emissions – all while propelling passengers at Mach 0.90.
A new-generation engine health monitoring system introduces advanced vibration detection, and the Pearl incorporates advanced remote engine diagnostics and bi-directional communications that allow remote engine-monitoring reconfiguration from the ground.
The engine, developed at Rolls-Royce’s Center of Excellence for Business Aviation engines in Dahlewitz, Germany, received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification in February 2018. The engine is currently undergoing flight tests at Bombardier’s Flight Test Center in Wichita, Kansas, supporting the planned entry into service at the end of 2019. www.businessaircraft.bombardier.com/en; www.rolls-royce.com
Anca names group CEO
Dr. Christopher Hegarty became group CEO on July 1, 2018, succeeding Grant Anderson FCAM. After eight years in the role at Anca, Anderson retired at the end of June.
“Having worked with Chris over the last year, I am confident of his vision for Anca and know his global experience and in-depth understanding of manufacturing will ensure a strong future for our business,” said Anca Co-Founder Pat Boland.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and an M.Sc., Hegarty received his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He spent five years working for McKinsey and Co. in Zurich, Switzerland. Hegarty has experience working for machine tool manufacturers in Europe and Australasia, including more than 15 years as CEO or general manager. He joined the Anca group in July 2017 as the engineering manager of CNC
JF: Industry 4.0, Smart Factory, and
Exponentialincrease in data volumes transmitted and stored, and the computational power required to handle these volumes Emergenceof data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning
- New forms of
human- machineinteraction (HMI)
- Improvements in transferring digital data into the physical world and from physical to digital
- Use of time-sensitive networks in industrial environments
JF: Smart technologies are limited by the lack of standards at
JF: A large portion of a company’s knowledge is susceptible to hacking, however, the problem is more critical at an ERP and IT level than at a tooling level. We use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as a standard for several reasons. A small battery-operated, fine boring tool equipped with BLE can only communicate within a few meters.
So, a hacking device needs to be placed near the machine tool, work undetected, and send information outside the factory. Recent Bluetooth versions have added security features that would further deter hackers.4) How does BIG KAISER plan to close the loop for automatic tool adjustments?
JF: We aim to provide the simplest possible automatic system to install and use. For customers who don’t need a closed loop, the tool can be adjusted via a smartphone or tablet app. A handheld device is under development if such devices are not allowed in the shop. In legacy machines, the closed-loop system uses an industrial PC to interface the machine control (via Ethernet) and tool (via Bluetooth). In a third envisioned scenario, machine tool builders could equip their units with hardware, software, and HMI functions for direct communication to our devices without external hardware.5) What information might tools send or receive in the future?
JF: BIG KAISER boring heads are much closer to the cutting point than any other element of the machine tool, and this is where the “real stuff” affecting