Module Learning Outcomes Assessed:
- Develop solutions to given problems by the application of appropriate tools and techniques, within a chosen specialism, with professionalism, confidence and competence.
- Identify, select and review current information resources relevant to a particular problem and justify appropriate problem solving strategies with respect to resources, tools and techniques.
- Communicate effectively in formal and informal situations both verbally and otherwise with interested parties.
- Develop project management skills and critically evaluate research and problem solving processes.
- Take account of any legal, social and ethical issues relating to research and project work.
The globalised market has had a significant impact on the modern industrial sector, which must meet the demands of consumers worldwide. Digitization, shortened product cycles, and also increased adaptability regarding the operations. In these conditions there is a need of demand for new technologies which can be applied into the industries such as Internet of things, focused more on intelligent and totally autonomous systems, and systems which are interconnected wirelessly which process and transfer information between machines, sensors and devices.
This wireless connection between the devices allows the communication of individuals and technologies in Cyber-Physical Systems [CPS] (Haddara & Elragal, 2015). Amidst this new Industrial revolution even Aircraft Manufacturing industries are looking into transformation and adoption of these modern technologies which can give them an edge against their competitors. The increasing variation of different kinds of digital devices and technologies and their availabilities has gained an interest of aircraft manufacturing Industries to focus on prospecting, research and development to transform their manufacturing process into smart Intelligent and autonomous technologies.
I4.0 has changed the face of modern manufacturing processes by revolutionising the conventional and outdated technologies with self-dependent and intelligent technologies. I4.0 has caused a technical revolution in terms of manufacturing process, business models, skills, quality of product, ownership relationships of companies. Changes in society, economy, and government, along with a surge in technology sparked by cutting-edge means of communication and manufacturing, have combined to make this update necessary.
These factors affect the businesses and the society directly so management and administration of such opportunities has to be done correctly (Büchi et al., 2020) I4.0 is fundamentally based on 4 technological pillars which are IoT, cloud-based manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing. These 4 pillars can transform a fully digitalized manufacturing into smart factories (Vaidya et al., 2018). The evolution and implementation of I4.0 into any kind of manufacturing industry can also be a huge factor for the sustainability of the manufacturing industry. (Stock & Seliger, 2016)
Now to test the readiness level of any kind of industry or business we need some kind of tools. TRL (Technology Readiness level) is a system used to estimate the level of maturity of a given technology, popularly known thanks to NASA and USA department of Defence. Using a scale from 1 (least developed) to 9 (most developed), the degree of technological advancement is indicated using the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scales allow for objective discussion of the relative advancement of various technologies.
The different levels and their meanings are as follows
Level 1 – Basic principles observed and reported
Level 2 – Concept of technology
Level 3 – Critical analysis and experimental function and/or characteristic proof of concept
Level 4 – Validation of component in a laboratory environment
Level 5 – Validation of component in a relevant environment
Level 6 – System model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
Level 7 – Demonstration of a system prototype in a space environment
Level 8 – Real system completed and qualified for Flight
Level 9 – Real system “proven in-flight” through successful mission operations.
The lower two levels are for trying things out and making prototypes.
Prototypes are tested virtually, in a lab, and in a realistically replicated environment at levels 3 through 6. Testing a novel technology in real-world contexts is the focus of stages 7–9(Héder, 2017).
However, the fourth industrial revolution and the development of previously unexplored technologies have given TRL renewed momentum, despite its invention at the tail end of the previous century. Its goals go beyond simply categorising the level of technological development; they also include aiding risk analysis, resource management, and highlighting potential areas for improvement that could eventually lead to lower manufacturing costs or even capital savings due to the reduced expense of fixing problems (Lemos & Chagas, 2016). This is why digital integration and the intelligence of industrial processes are expected to lead to substantial efficiency gains in the future decades.
Examples of methods that can meet these requirements include the Internet of Things, cloud-based manufacturing, and digital manufacturing. To pinpoint specific areas of concentration for projects, strategies, and the like, however, it is challenging to evaluate its current level of progress in connection to the goal of Industry 4.0. To fight the growing ambiguity and displeasure with the notion of Industry 4.0, new approaches and tools like TRL are required to provide direction and support to align business and operational plans in manufacturing businesses (Ganzarain & Errasti, 2016)
Based on above all this we can come up with some research questions,
RQ 1 – What kind of I4.0 technologies are required in an aeronautical manufacturing Environment?
RQ 2 – How to identify the literature gap between digital manufacturing and aeronautical engineering, and the scope for future research.
RQ 3 – How TRL is used to identify the readiness of any Industry to adopt the industry 4.0?
RQ 4 – Are I4.0 technologies mature enough to be used in the aeronautical manufacturing Environment?