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Improving of both engineering and operation of complex automated aircraft production systems by application of a digital factory twin

Currently, the aircraft industry is facing challenging boundary conditions due to the dramatically reduced demand of airlines as a result of the pandemic situation. Also, there are no new aircraft programs visible short term. As a consequence, resources become available for the improvement of previous aircraft production processes by increasing the level of automation and optimizing the digital continuity of aircraft component production planning and automation system engineering.

An automation system for aircraft production is complex with respect to the engineering process but also about the operation of such a system at the production site.

The complex engineering process can be supported by a digital twin of the production system that allows early validation of process feasibility as well as a complete validation of cooperating control systems for logic control (PLC) and motion control (robotics / NC ). This would be possible even if the system hardware is not available yet. The resulting early identification of errors contributes significantly to cost savings (rule of ten). On the system operator site, the digital twin of the production system allows a detailed virtual dry-run e.g. of a complex automated airframe assembly process, in combination with the control systems to significantly reduce physical dry-run verification time, which helps to improve time-to-production. By ensuring digital continuity from aircraft component engineering to production the level of automation of generating complex control programs e.g. for complex drilling/riveting processes can significantly be increased. The proposed contribution is going to outline the realized technical approach in the frame of a digital factory solution and gives an outlook on the potential of this application in combination with cloud technology.

Discover the entire presentation hold during the  SAE AeroTech Digital Summit 2021 by Thierry Bazire (Kuka Systems Aerospace), Nikolai D’Agostino, and Arnauld Varlet!


The Digital Twin approach helps to achieve business targets even today! Let's discuss how we can help you!


Arnaud Varlet, Sales Manager Digital Factory - Linkedin


Thierry Bazire, R&D Manager- Kuka System Aerospace - LinkedIn

Trimming & RoutingNDTDigital ContinuityDigital TwinOffline ProgrammingSystem IntegratorAerospace Manufacturing AutomationArticles

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