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  • Writer's pictureSarah-Jayne Gratton

Why the Aerospace Industry is Flying High on Siemens Digital Twin Technology

A digital twin simulates the real-world performance of an object to optimize results. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

The global aerospace industry undoubtedly shows a digital maturity beyond the likes of construction or oil. Its eagerness to fully explore the benefits of digitalisation on operational efficiency and cost effectiveness through the Internet of Things (IoT), predictive analytics and 3D printing for spare part manufacturing are key drivers of its ongoing success. And one man who know all about how to maximise the digitisation revolution is the Dubai Head of Aerospace Badr Al-Olama. 

Nominated as a young global leader of the Middle East and North Africa by the World Economic Forum, Badr landed his first CEO role at the tender age of just 32 and admits that the experience was a huge learning curve for him.

“It’s all about listening first” he exclaims. “My philosophy is based upon – don’t just tell me your problems, find a solution that works to solve them”.

It’s a philosophy that has served his business well and has kept Badr one step ahead of his industry competitors. 

A young mind in such a young (and still heavily developing) country that has innovation set into its very foundations is a heady combination indeed.

And Siemens are playing a powerful role in securing the Middle East’s continued growth. They are partnering with aerospace leaders such as Badr to ensure that their game-changing IoT cloud platform Mindsphere, is able to manage the volume of data generated in order to help manage maintenance and operation.

The name of the game here is optimisation and delivering real-time performance data that matters. With this in mind, Siemens’ MindSphere has every tool in the box needed to ensure that data is collected and managed as effectively as possible in order to provide maximum value where it’s needed.

And then there’s digital twin-based manufacturing. I ask about its adoption and Badr gives me an excited smile. “It’s the perfect time for technologies like the digital twin to make their mark and set new standards for the industry” he says determinedly. And it does seem to be the perfect match of industry and innovation on many levels.     

The use of the digital twin is already changing how Boeing designs its airplanes by providing a virtual replication of physical airplane parts and simulating how they will perform over the lifecycle of the air-frame. The software underlying each digital twin is capable of creating a virtual three-dimensional model that then undertakes a number of simulated lifecycles. A multitude of environments and conditions can be explored, which are created by digitally threading together bits of data about that component's in-service product lifecycle to provide a totally realistic representation of differing scenarios.

While less of a media ‘darling’ than 3D printing, because the components of a digital twin are rapidly producing ROI in terms of manufacturing performance, the overall digital twin market is projected to rise to $15.66 billion by 2023. Independent research firms have consistently considered the technology to be a global manufacturing game changer, and industry surveys show that the aerospace sector is preparing for increased adoption of digital twins by investing heavily in IT infrastructure, R&D, and data science.

Siemens have always been at the forefront of new innovation in the aerospace industry. They believe, as do I, that the digital twin is the future of aerospace design. Siemens digital twin potential will ensure the continued evolution of aerospace in the areas of efficiency and performance, and perhaps most important of all, it will ensure greater levels of air safety for us all.


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