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More data, higher output – the digital transformation of the Aerospace industry

In a future of megacities, sustainability efforts and increased global mobility, the Aerospace industry needs to double its production output while maintaining sky-high quality control. With the help of digitalization and smart connected tools, it is possible to implement and fully utilize Industry 4.0 manufacturing practices.

Smart Connected Aerospace aircraft manufacturing industry 4.0

It feels like air travel has reached its peak today, but in fact it has only just begun. The aircraft production has more than doubled every decade since the 70’s, and is expected to continue this growth at the same or even faster pace.

This puts enormous pressure on the industry to increase its productivity - new aircraft will be designed using lighter and more sustainable materials, which creates the need for new assembly methods.

The hard facts and big challenges for the Aerospace industry

93 MEGACITIES BY 2035

The global middle-class is growing and our urban areas are expanding rapidly. It has been estimated that the number of megacities (with over 10 million people) will rise from 55 to 93 by the year 2035. Urban citizens are mobile by definition, and a majority of the world’s population will soon have the urge and economy to travel by air in the years to come.

35,000 AIRCRAFTS BY 2035

The amount of aircrafts in the sky will be double in 15-20 years. This is around 40,000 and on top of this, 75% of existing aircrafts have to be replaced. Consequently, it means a production number of 35,000 aircrafts.

50% LESS CO2 EMISSIONS

The Aerospace industry needs to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% over the next 30 years. This can be accomplished partly by producing more efficient air transportation, but manufacturers will also need to improve production methods and use smarter tools.

✔  Production output will likely increase greatly.


The main issue is to produce and assemble faster without risking a lower level of quality. With all the new production materials, there is also a different assembly process which demands a new kind of assembly competence.

✔  It is important is to keep and improve high quality standards


This can be done by guiding operators during the assembly process. By reducing hardware and improving visual aids, the collected data can come to life in a helpful and intuitive manner.

The aerospace industry challenges can be addressed by leveraging the tools and assembly methods in the production line. With cordless smart tools, including battery drills, screwdrivers, controllers, accessories, among other products, the output and quality can increase significantly.

Aerospace assembly line with STB 34/64 illustration

Aircraft manufacturing is moving toward smart connected tools and data-driven processes. Atlas Copco is leading the way, tackling Industry 4.0 challenges with Aerospace customers around the world.

The big benefits of Industry 4.0 for the aircraft manufacturing industry

Digital transformation underway

Automation is by now widely implemented in the industry, and global production output has increased from 70 aircrafts per month in the year 2000, to up to 150 today, while the demand for aircrafts has increased four times. Consequently, the next step is to use smart, digital tools and connectivity in order to lead the way into the future of Aerospace manufacturing.

Through Smart Connected Assembly solutions, you can gain better control of the entire production process. Smart tools give us immediate feedback from each tightening and assembly operation. While collecting data to verify the overall quality of the process, this also helps production operators avoid costly mistakes.

More data, less cost

One of the benefits from an Industry 4.0 approach is higher production output with fewer mistakes. Every plant manager or assembly expert knows the costs associated with simple human errors. Transparency and real-time data analysis can significantly help reduce these costs.

The biggest cost is in the paperwork. One single part can have a high cost, and every repair lowers the market value of the aircraft significantly. Not to mention costs for delays in the production line and fines for missing the customer delivery deadline.

The future is in the air

It’s not just traditional aircraft production that will intensify in the years to come. Along with the aforementioned world megacities, there seems to be a growing demand for smaller, urban flying vehicles.

Also, the demand for more space satellites will also put increased pressure on the Aerospace industry. That’s where Atlas Copco's smart connected tools can make a huge difference.