Nowadays, aviation undoubtedly has become an essential element of today's global society. Being one of the safest transports globally, the air transport industry never fails to provide maximum comfort to its passengers. To accommodate the demand that keeps increasing from time to time, the aviation industry consistently improvised and improved its manufacturing system toward better production.
One of the efforts is to start using automation assembly in their production. Automation assembly has long been introduced in the manufacturing industry and is considered one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century. It has been used widely in the automotive industry, where robots eventually take over many manual activities such as spot welding and spray painting.
In the aviation industry, Boeing was an early adopter in automation assembly. They use robots for painting aircraft and have facilities worldwide that deploy drilling and fastening robots on its aircraft assembly lines, as stated by Tanya M. Anandan (2016).
However, as modern and great it can be, our nature's right still needs to be sustained. Sustainability and sustainable development in the industry focus on balancing that fine line between competing for needs to move forward technologically and economically and protect the environments in which we and others live.
To see how well the aviation industry can sustain the balance in our environment, the study on their automation assembly will be carried in this research. The processes and supply chain involved in its operation will be investigated further. The process of automation assembly systems will be investigated to obtain a clear vision of how they balance the effectiveness in aviation product’s functionality while minimizing the effect on the environment.
Nowadays, the development of green technology in aviation manufacturing has been discussed widely. The topics on Green have evolved to cope with current technology and find a more relevant answer to upcoming problems.
For decades, industries incorporating green projects have focused mainly on cost down and value analysis by only paying attention to the compliance issue to minimize the risk, maintain health, and protect the environment as a whole.
With rapid economic progress and tremendous advances in science and technology, awareness of environmental protection has become a worldwide consensus and needs serious attention in sustaining our environment's needs.
The evolution of current technology undoubtedly had brought the aviation industry to another level. Today we have heard another achievement in aviation technology where automation assembly is now being introduced to achieve a higher degree of precision and flexibility in production.
As stated by Tanya M. Anandan (2016) in her article, according to Boeing, who was among the earliest to adopt this technology, the automation process also simplifies the build by using determinant assembly (part-to-part indexing) for panel and floor indexing.
The determinant assembly provider a quicker process by using features of the parts, such as drilled holes, quickly o align components without requiring additional tooling or fixture.
While the technology sounds promising and amazingly efficient, many environmental issues need to be discussed and explored regarding its efficiency, productivity, and economics. The development of green technology in aviation manufacturing will significantly impact air transportation and the earth as a whole.
According to Freelancer (2015) in his article, present and future sustainable aerospace R&D should involve research into sustainable biofuels and focus on manufacturing practices, which will be investigated in detail in this research.
Until now, aircraft assembly has involved a high proportion of manual processes, which limits production output. It also ergonomically challenges workers, and productivity and quality demands are fueling the charge.
Aerospace production volumes have been increasing steadily over the last three years, according to Austin Weber (2015), and therefore, more efficient technology is needed to fulfill the demand. Automation assembly has been seen as a potential solution to the current issue in the aviation industry.
Austin Weber (2015) added in his article, Aerospace manufacturers are bursting at the seams with a backlog of orders, and to address that dilemma, they need to automate their factories. The aviation industry is investing heavily in inflexible systems that reduce cost, improve quality and boost productivity.
According to Tanya M. Anandan (2016), with their renowned repeatability and now greater rigidity and accuracy, robots are the lower-cost tools of choice for many aerospace manufacturing operations.
Coupled with additive manufacturing and, soon, a new rivet-free technology that could transform how aircraft is made, robots help shape the aerospace factory of the future, Tanya M. Anandan (2016) added.
Traditionally, automation in aerospace manufacturing has consisted of large monument machines that are fed from manual processes. However, Austin Weber (2015) had quoted in his article that in the last five years, the aerospace industry has been pushing to improve production and efficiency.
According to Zuo-Ming Lin (2013), Green aviation comprehensively considers energy consumption and pollution emission in the entire product lifecycle.
The fundamental goal is to achieve low energy consumption, low emission, and low pollution throughout the process, including design, testing, and manufacturing. Zuo-Ming Lin (2013) added these are essential for balancing economic benefits, social benefits, and environmental benefits. The basic principle is to improve the energy or resource efficiency of aviation manufacturing and air transportation and create a clean energy system.
According to Freelancer (2015), the aviation industry has a strong history of commitment to the environmental impact of all aspects of aerospace manufacturing and civil aviation travel. Over the last 50 years, there has been a 70% reduction of fuel-burn/passenger-Km. The aviation industry continues to commit to achieving further emissions reduction and production impact and costs.
Apart from all the green systems that have been focusing on, all technology and processes used for aviation manufacturing must strictly follow the applicable governing body's guidelines and standards.
These rules are designed to maintain and ensure our environment's quality levels that include air, land, and water. Romania. Y et al. (2012) said, The Aviation industry also works to attain certification, which demonstrates their progress with implementing environmental policies, which will be investigated further in the research.
Romania. Y et al. (2012) added, one such certification is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate. This certificate reflects the specific sites' commitment to the implementation of environmental policies. However, there is still not enough of a regulatory framework specifically designed for aviation manufacturing. This topic shall be tackled further in this research later on.
Aside from typical and compulsory regulation from the governing body, its specific internal initiatives will vary from company to company according to its mission and vision. Regulatory initiatives ensure environmental legislation adheres to the relevant certification status or external or internal code of conduct is met.
A typical example can be seen within Boeing, who, according to Freelancer (2015), had introduced a workshop that ensured the company was helped to streamline the company and reduce inefficiencies and waste which benefited the company right down to the manufacturing floor level.
1. To investigate the implementation of green automation assembly in the aviation industry
2. To study the existing regulatory framework that is specifically designed for aviation manufacturing
3. To identify the driven factors and efficiency of the automation assembly practices in the aviation industry
1. What are the driving factors to the automation assembly technology
2. How is the green supply chain systems works between the airline industry and its manufacturer
3. What are the factors and parameters being considered from all related parties during the new model introduction stage to achieve their green product KPI in the manufacturing process
4. Analyzing SWAT on automation assembly system in the aviation industry
5. How automation assembly helps to increase productivity while balancing the needs of environmental sustainability
6. How aviation industry measure the sustainability or environmental impact of the aviation manufacturing process, and how deep it’s being considered
7. What is the regulatory framework involved in the aviation industry?
8. How well is the effectiveness of overall systems considering the cost and limitations involved?
In this research, qualitative methods will be used as the main method to complete the write-up where a real example of the case study will be taken. Data collection methods will be mainly based on interviews and direct observation. Interviews will be done with the respective airline company and manufacturers to obtain their perspectives regarding green automation assembly in the aviation industry.
The purpose of the research interview is to explore individuals' views, experiences, beliefs, or motivations on specific matters. The interview method is more appropriate for exploring sensitive topics, where involved parties may not want to share details in a group environment.
Using a qualitative method, it is hoped that a deeper understanding of the discussed topics will be gained. Using previous research experience during the master's study, collaboration with the airline industry is expected to be accomplished.
Aside from that, with three years’ experience in the industry as an engineer and dealing and communicating with various people at all levels, the chosen method for this research is a perfect approach to gain data and useful information.
At the end of the research, a performance measurement model and framework will be specifically designed to answer all the research objectives. A complete thesis will be written accordingly to explain the automation assembly implementation in the aviation industry and its impact on the environment.
Overall, the entire research is focusing on the environmental issue in aviation’s automation assembly. Details information and data will be found out based on the research objectives that have been outlined.
This research aims to investigate the implementation of green automation assembly in the aviation industry, study the existing regulatory framework that is specifically designed for aviation manufacturing, and identify the driving factors and efficiency of the automation assembly practices in the aviation industry. It is believed that deeper research on the topics will benefit the aviation industry in many aspects.
As environmental issues have become a worldwide consensus nowadays, it is important to tackle and solve existing problems as much as possible to allow the expansion of technology in greener ways.
It will also provide significant value to future scholars as a useful reference to overcome future arriving issues. The technology shall expand and improve, but the environment needs to be sustained for the sake of our future generation. Therefore, this research is proposed for the advantage of all.
Romania. Y and Bras. B (2012) Survey of Common Practices in Sustainable Aerospace manufacturing to drive Future Research
Freelancer (2015) Sustainability in the aerospace industry, Available at http://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=565 (Accessed: 16 January 2017)
Hands-on C. D. Pimental,b*, Peter D. Ballb (2015) Analysis of environmental sustainability practices across upstream supply chain management Zuo, M.L (2013) 'Making aviation green,' Advances in manufacturing, 1(1), pp. 42-49.
Anandan, T.M (2016) Aerospace Manufacturing on Board with Robots, Available at http://www.robotics.org/content-detail.cfm/Industrial-Robotics-Industry-Insights/Aerospace-Manufacturing-on-Board-with-Robots/content_id/5960 (Accessed: 23rd January 2017).
Weber, A. (2015) Assembly Automation Takes Off in Aerospace Industry, Available at http://www.assemblymag.com/articles/92790-assembly-automation-takes-off-in-aerospace-industry (Accessed: 24th January 2017).