Next-generation aerospace: shaping the supply chain landscape
The global commercial aerospace industry is at a unique time. Three of the most recently developed and most advanced aircraft in the world — the Boeing 777X and 787 and the Airbus A350 — are all in production, with the latter two in service. All use advanced materials in general, and composites in particular, in unprecedented quantities.
As we look to the next decade, the aerospace industry faces myriad questions about aircraft development, design, production and materials use that could substantially shape and reshape the supply chain landscape for many, many years.
On the aircraft development front, Boeing is facing the prospect of building the New Midsize Airplane (NMA), which could be officially announced any day. On top of that, the company is coping with the aftermath of the 737 MAX crashes and the difficulty those have posed to the supply chain. Is it possible that Boeing will use this opportunity to implement a plan to develop a plane to replace the 737?
Airbus, on the other hand, is watching Boeing and likely will have aircraft announcements of its own, depending on what its American competitor does. Among these is possibly a plan to replace the A320 single-aisle jet, Airbus’ most profitable and best selling aircraft.
The cascading effects of these decisions — whatever they are — will be profound. Questions will abound regarding material use in these aircraft, which will lead naturally to decisions about manufacturing processes. Composites, additive manufacturing and advanced metals all will have a role to play.
This publication is designed to provide aerospace OEMs and suppliers a glimpse of the materials and processes that will be on the table as next-generation aircraft are developed, and we hope can be a guide to the decisions that are yet to be made.
The Next Generation of Aerospace Manufacturing
With the commercial aviation industry projected to double in the next 20 years, meeting the demand for passenger and freight aircraft will require new technologies and unprecedented manufacturing rates.
Learn more about the materials and processes that will shape next-generation aircraft in a collection of stories from CompositesWorld, Modern Machine Shop and Additive Manufacturing, available to read or download for free. Get it here.
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