How will we fly tomorrow? A visit to the AIX 2022 in Hamburg
The Aircraft Interiors Expo is more than just cabins. The focus lies on green flying, hyperautomation, and digitisation. The umlaut trade fair visit.
From June 14 to 16, more than 16,000 people will gather in the Hamburg exhibition halls to discuss the future of aviation. The 600 exhibitors will also include the umlaut team. At the booth in hall B6 (6A80 C), the experts will talk about research results, customer projects, and the trends of tomorrow. Five voices from the trade fair:
1. Sustainable Aviation begins in the cabin
It is highly likely that aircraft will still predominantly feature combustion engines in 2050, as development cycles are long, safety standards are stringent, and new technologies are only just beginning. Sustainable aviation - i.e. propulsion by means of green Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), green electricity, or green hydrogen - will, however, gain in importance over time. This is what Dr. Hannes Mechler, CEO of Aerospace said in an umlaut interview on sustainable flying. At the leading trade fair for aircraft interiors in Hamburg, alternative energy sources will nevertheless play an important role, according to Felix Radloff, Senior Consultant, Sustainability & UX: "Sustainable and recyclable materials will play a major role in the cabin of the future, in order to save considerable amounts of CO2 already in the production phase. Optimised designs and lighter materials will also reduce fuel consumption during flight and thus CO2 emissions. Both topics also have a direct positive impact on the passenger experience."
2. Hyperautomation: The aircraft of the future will learn by themselves
The combination of technologies such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and process mining - hyperautomation for short - will modernise many parts of aviation and make the development of new aircraft more efficient. Countless design plans, drawings, tests and certifications are required before a new aircraft is allowed to take off. Atilla Akdere oversees automation processes at the aviation site in Hamburg, from initial configuration and engineering services to ensuring data continuity, production, and delivery. Akdere came to the trade fair in Hamburg with great expectations: "We want to make hyperautomation applicable to the cabin of the future. At our booth, we bring customers in touch with topics such as Industrial Internet of Things, design and stress automation, and knowledge-based engineering. We can weave stress data and design data together in a contextualised way - harmonising trades such as design, aerostructure, and cabin on a data basis. An algorithm we feed can scale dimensions and weights in real time and match them to minimum - or maximum - specifications. This is true machine learning."
3. One screw can save millions
In the air, every gramme counts. umlaut's engineers continuously analyse technical standards and develop their own solutions for cabins. In 2014, after a law change, OEMs were looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to the halon fire extinguisher, which is quickly developed, produced, and adapted for a wide variety of consoles. Today, the HAFEX is approved on all Airbus aircraft, as well as a few by Boeing and other manufacturers. The 2.7 kg fire extinguisher will also be presented at AIX - and is just one example of good cost engineering, as Marta Schiller, Managing Director of umlaut engineering GmbH, says: "OEMs in aerospace face two challenges: They have to maintain their traditional business while investing in new technologies and technology-based business models, services, and sustainable products. Our team always tries to find a balance between effort, quality, and time - and that's how we can find the "screw" in the aircraft and replace it with an innovative solution that saves millions."
4. A digital twin for the win
Virtual production means competitive advantage. In the future, efficiency in aviation will be greatly enhanced by intelligent digital twins. Many companies operate with outdated lifecycle processes, some of which are analogue, with limited visualisation capabilities. Missing data, no updating of data sets, insufficient links between interdependent processes, and a lack of knowledge transfer between process partners increase the challenges to keep up with the competition. Martin Willam, Technical Lead 3D Visualisation and Digital Twin, knows that a digital twin helps make production more reliable and detect bad decisions early. "We can prepare prototypes, components, or entire aircraft in a 3D simulation as digital twins before they are built. This allows teams to be trained long before commissioning - via video, interactive graphics, or in space using VR or AR." The technology is also suitable for maintaining, overhauling or repairing products, and processes regardless of location.
A digital twin helps to make production more reliable and detect bad decisions early.
5. Safëty fïrst!
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is the first to use the MedEvac cabin developed by umlaut for the medical transport of up to two patients. The cabin offers the possibility of transporting an incubator and additional medical equipment - all under hospital-standard hygiene regulations. The cabin is currently being installed into a Phenom 300MED at the Florida aerospace site. At the umlaut booth at AIX, Dominik Kreutzer, Head of Airworthiness, advises interested guests and existing customers. "Embraer commissioned us with aircraft modifications years ago - and approached us with the idea of equipping their P300 business jet with a patient cabin. After just two years of intensive collaboration with medical device manufacturer Aerolite, we developed a flexible Quick Change solution for the MedEvac cabin - which we can now present here at the trade fair." At the AIX stand, umlaut will show other emergency equipment products developed in-house, such as survival kits, crash axe holders, and the HAFEX fire extinguisher. The expertise in this field stems from the long-standing cooperation with Airbus, where umlaut is now the sole supplier for the A380.
After a two-year pandemic break, the Aircraft Interiors Expo will be held for the 12th time in the Elbe metropolis. The Aircraft Interiors Expo was first held in March 2000 in Cannes, where it returned in 2001. Due to its proximity to Airbus and Lufthansa Technik, the format moved to the Hamburg exhibition halls in 2002. umlaut's aviation experts now maintain offices in all relevant locations, including Hamburg and Toulouse.
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