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Atkins predicts exciting developments in the aerospace industry

A series of new white papers has been released by the experts at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, exploring the evolving landscape of the aerospace sector, as growing fleets and the need to lower costs see the industry increasingly embracing new technology. SNC-Lavalin acquired WS Atkins plc on July 3, 2017.

In the white paper entitled Current and emerging trends in the aerospace sector, author Matthew Price assesses the shifting priorities and developing technologies shaping the aerospace industry. Two further white papers have been written by aerospace innovation lead James Domone, examining the benefits and challenges of aircraft electrification, and exploring the growing trend of creating a dynamic digital representation of civil aircraft, known as a digital twin.

With global passenger numbers in the aviation industry forecast to double between now and 2036, according to the International Air Transport Association, the aviation industry will need to raise aircraft outputs to historic levels, while also facing the demands to lower pollution, limit waste and lower costs. Looking ahead to the future, Matthew Price’s white paper explores:

-Increasing digitalisation in the maintenance sector.
-The new skills that will need to be learnt by both employees and the supply chain.
-How organisations can use data intelligently to make informed decisions.
-Improving efficiency and driving out cost
-The risks and rewards of increased connectivity




Matthew Price, client manager at SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business says: “There’s little doubt that evolving technologies, data analytics, electric propulsion and smart new materials will bring further opportunities and challenges to the industry. As the sector explores these exciting new avenues, a firm focus must still remain on clearing the record backlogs that have accumulated, thanks to the ever-growing demand for air travel.”

According to the electrification white paper, taking a return flight from London to New York currently generates roughly the same emissions as it takes to heat a house for a year. With the demand for cleaner, quieter and more sustainable transportation growing, electrification of aircraft will be increasingly explored. Research and development is still at an early stage but major organisations in the aerospace sector are already racing to release prototypes. 

James Domone, aerospace innovation lead at SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business adds: “Electrification of aircraft is becoming more and more attractive, as people look to more sustainable energy sources. There are still so many factors that need to be explored, from the necessary infrastructure to support electrification to the much-needed research into suitable battery technology. In both the short term and the long term, the industry is in great need of financial investment to ensure the technology keeps apace with the demand. 

“The process of creating and maintaining a digital twin broadly across aerospace is a useful tool for life predictions, and I expect to see it become increasingly common as the lines between the physical and digital continue to blur.”