An industry doesn’t move forward without innovation. It doesn’t progress without people coming forward and challenging the status quo as a means of advancement and progression. That’s currently occurring at an unprecedented pace in the aerospace industry, as innovation and ingenuity is leading to better prototyping and manufacturing, better performance in aircraft and, ultimately, a better end product in the sky.
With that being said, here’s a look at some of the biggest trends that are moving the aerospace industry forward:
- 3D printing
Also known as “additive manufacturing,” 3D printing is a manufacturing process that builds parts from the ground up, layer-by-layer. Once best utilized solely for the rapid prototyping of parts to test for form, fit and function prior to manufacturing runs, 3D printing has advanced to the point where it can now satisfy a variety of tasks. Most in the aerospace industry are using 3D printing to quickly fabricate complex prototype parts, but Boeing, for instance, is actually using the technology to create replacement parts for aircraft.
- Eco-friendly flying
Reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy are being taken seriously on the ground in the auto industry – and the aerospace industry is paying more attention to this, too. Lighter aircraft are being developed, alternative fuels are being experimented with and various new engine technology is being integrated to reduce emissions in the sky, just to name a few.
- MRO services
Maintenance, repair and operations, or MRO, is increasingly being outsourced to third-party specialists. Why? It’s because the airlines, who are mostly responsible for MRO, are putting more emphasis into their core business of passenger transport and choosing to leave these important, yet non-core tasks, to specialists who are more qualified.
- STEM programs
The aerospace industry is only as good as the people that make it up. And more and more students are becoming interested in this booming field – and more and more educational entities and curriculums are following suit to meet this demand. A STEM program was recently started in the greater Los Angeles area, with a goal of helping middle schoolers and high schoolers get acquainted with real-world math and science applications, similar to those they would encounter in aerospace. Additionally, some 65 aerospace programs exist in higher education settings nationwide – 25 of which are standalone programs. Aerospace is currently the third most popular field for engineering students.
- Individual jet packs
Seemingly straight out of the 1991 movie The Rocketeer, individual jet packs are becoming increasingly popular in aerospace. Take the Martin Jetpack or the “Body Jet,” for instance – personal flying might still be a ways off, but it appears that it could make the change from pipe dream to reality sooner rather than later.
The aerospace industry itself is evolving and growing – and American Crane is no exception to this trend. The developer of the Custom Underhung Crane System for Boeing is another example of innovation and advancement in the industry. For more information on trends and innovation in the aerospace industry, as well as the role that American Crane is playing in it, contact us today.