With digitalization, space is truly without frontiers

Siemens is deeply invested in the aerospace industry, world-wide, and we are expanding our commitment to the industry, right here in Canada.

Space is no longer “the final frontier.” Of course, in one very infinite sense, space will always present frontiers to be explored. But when it comes to the aerospace industry, space is not the great unknown – space is our lab and our factory floor. It is the environment in which we work, every day.

The “great unknown” is not “space” – the great unknown is what new challenges and opportunities tomorrow will bring us.

These challenges sweep right across the aerospace industry. Like every other modern industry, we must be concerned with environmental issues and sustainability. We are faced with the need to improve fuel efficiency, to achieve noise reduction. We have to become increasingly flexible in how we do business, and how we meet the changing needs of our customers. We operate in a world of fierce competition. Open markets and low cost players are driving cost and productivity pressures.

The aerospace industry must meet the challenge of building more and improved aircraft with a shorter time to market. This means we have to get better, and quicker, at every stage from product design through engineering and execution, to service.

We must be ready to conquer new frontiers – both in the exploration and utilization of space, and in the R&D and production aspects of carrying out our aerospace enterprise right here on earth – and to productively share in the unfolding visions for new space missions. We will be going to Mars; we will be building new space stations, launching new and improved satellites for telecommunications, defense, security and science.

By its nature the aerospace industry has a proud history of discoveries and innovation that has shaped our modern world. However, in our age of destructive innovation, and the challenges and new frontiers I have just noted, every industry must continually re-invent itself with new, innovative approaches. We have to be fluid, and – in every way – “smart”.

At Siemens Canada, we are determined to be “smart”. We are committed to running ahead of the pack, embracing change and disruption, and driving innovation. And we are very involved in driving innovation in the aerospace industry.

Siemens has a strong reputation as a system provider of automation solutions, and in that role, Siemens supports the aerospace industry through all phases of the product and production life cycle.  Siemens collaborates with all the major companies in the aerospace industry, and as a long-established partner of the industry, we offer a comprehensive range of products, systems and solutions, from new technology applications for aircraft engine production to the final stage of the paint process.

We have introduced and rigorously implanted Industry 4.0 in our R&D, design, production, and operations areas. We use our own unique Product Life Management (PLM) software, factory automation and advanced data analytics capabilities. We combine the virtual with the real world by creating “digital twins” of every product. As we use this digital technology, space is truly without frontiers.

We have been a partner in the Mars Rover missions with NASA, where Siemens PLM software was used throughout the development process to digitally design, simulate and assemble the Rovers before any physical prototypes were built. Siemens is also supporting SpaceX in their new disruptive approach to space democratization, with their stated mission, “to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” As with the Mars projects, SpaceX is relying on our powerful Siemens PLM Software to create a managed development environment.

Our commitment to Canada’s aerospace industry is to bring this technology to Canada in collaboration with our customers and partners. We need to work together in R&D, to shape government policies, and especially, to market Canadian expertise to the world.

Canada has always been a significant player in the aerospace industry. We need to collaborate in all the areas I have just mentioned, but perhaps more importantly, we need to work together to develop more effective educational programs, programs that will provide the optimal benefit to work-ready graduates, and to our industry. This has become one of my passions – we must work with colleges, universities, colleagues in the industry and government to re-shape our training and education programs.

This is absolutely essential if Canada’s aerospace industry is to meet the challenges of the next frontier.

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