Airbus Relies on IoT to Make Better Planes and Bigger Revenues

Nov. 23, 2016
Insights from companies like Airbus, which is actively leveraging the Internet of Things to improve its business, offer valuable knowledge to companies of all sizes looking to improve their operations with this emerging technological trend.

Airbus has been using Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturing technologies at its manufacturing facilities around the world for years, according to Simon Bradley, Airbus vice president of product and cybersecurity program directorate, who spoke earlier this year at the Internet of Manufacturing event in Munich, Germany. “For us it’s nothing new—it’s just a new spin on the technology,” he said. “But we’ve been looking at collecting information from sensors from our factories for years.”

Airbus started its journey toward IoT via its use of RFID to track parts, Bradley explained. “Now we’re moving towards IoT devices to track tools in the factory so that engineers know where their key tools are, the tools can tell them if the torque is correct for implementation and determine if products need maintenance,” he said. “So we’re looking at a whole raft of things to not only improve products, but also reduce cost and improve production capability.”

The manufacturer’s current backlog of 10-11 years of plane orders is affecting production capacity, but Bradley sees IoT as being key to helping clear the backlog and increase cash flow.

Airbus is also working with IBM’s Watson team to collect more data on its flights and ground operations. As part of the company’s new Smarter Fleet platform, it will collect about 250 GB of data per flight on its A350, with this information expected to improve not only the in-flight experience for passengers and crew, but aircraft operations and maintenance.

Given the insights we learned from Airbus during the first Internet of Manufacturing event this year, we’re excited to learn even more next year when representatives from Airbus, Konecranes, Siemens, German Federal Ministry, Caterpillar and Rolls Royce present at next year’s Internet of Manufacturing event Feb. 7-8 in Munich. This event will bring together more than 150 European manufacturing leaders to explore how to realize the potential of IoT and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Keynotes will be combined with results-driven case studies and perspectives from government and standardization bodies to help accelerate the industry’s readiness for change.

View the full speaker list, agenda and testimonials from the Internet of Manufacturing 2016 at

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