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Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing Yearbook 2018

The 2018 edition of the Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Yearbook is available as a digital magazine. Links to individual articles are below.
Thomas Kurfess

Innovation All Around and a Promising Outlook

August 21, 2018
Welcome to Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2018. This year, we’re proud to offer you a comprehensive outlook on the A&D industry from Richard Aboulafia, VP of analysis at Teal Group Corp. In Aboulafia’s report, he begins with a strong statement: “The outlook for the aircraft industry is now the best it has been for decades.”
Thomas Kurfess
By Thomas Kurfess 2018 SME President

Best of Times in the World Aircraft Market

October 1, 2018
The competition for aerospace production work among U.S. states and regions is intensifying for a simple reason: The outlook for the aircraft industry is now the best it has been for decades. Topline output continues at near-record levels. Key segments look set for growth through the next three years, at least.
By Richard Aboulafia Vice President - Analysis, Teal Group Corp.

Aircraft Primes: An Elite Club

October 1, 2018
Despite the industry’s growth and prosperity, the number of aircraft industry players remains relatively constant. While the industrial consolidation of the last two decades has ceased, there are few signs of significant new market players. A very broad range of factors is responsible for this stasis.
By Richard Aboulafia Vice President - Analysis, Teal Group Corp.


  • Expert Opinion

    Real-time Monitoring Will Pay Now & Later

    October 1, 2018
    The in-service commercial airline fleet is forecast to grow from nearly 25,000 in early 2017 to over 35,000 by 2027, according to research firm Oliver Wyman. This is good news for the manufacturing industry. But, considering that there is an almost 10-year backlog at current production rates, it is also a challenge.
    By Francisco Flores - Aerospace Market Development Manager, Marposs
  • Expert Opinion

    Open Source Connectivity Key to Automation’s Growth

    October 1, 2018
    On March 13 this year, thousands of Boeing employees gathered at the company’s Renton, Wash., factory to celebrate the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line. It broke the Guinness World Records title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model.
    By David Suica - President, Fastems LLC
  • Expert Opinion

    Show Newbies Inspiring

    October 1, 2018
    This year, SLM Solutions Group will be exhibiting or participating in over 200 trade shows and events around the world. Having attended many metal additive manufacturing (AM) events for nearly 20 years, I have had the privilege to watch many of these events grow from small, specialized 3D printing conferences to large, multi-faceted shows with broad appeal.
    By Richard Grylls - Technical Director for North America, SLM Solutions NA Inc.
  • Expert Opinion

    What defense firms can do to ensure industrial security

    December 19, 2017
    Defense systems are, by design, built to defend against threats. Today, however, manufacturers of these systems are focusing on an entirely new kind of threat: security breaches targeting their automation systems.
    By Lee Lane - Chief Product Security Officer, Rockwell Automation
  • Manufacturers Thrive by Leveraging Intellectual Property

    March 6, 2018
    In many manufacturing industries, inventors spend considerable time and money in R&D trying to perfect products and technologies.  They rely on patents to keep competitors from copying their inventions so they can recoup their investments. 
    By D. Peter Hochberg - Partner, Walter | Haverfield, LLP
  • Expert Opinion

    Process Mentality Essential for Full Productivity

    October 1, 2018
    Without a fully optimized manufacturing process, individual machines and entire manufacturing operations fall short of their full productivity and cost-effectiveness potentials. To avoid this fate, shops should take advantage of engineering and process optimization support services typically offered by manufacturing equipment suppliers.
    By Tom Funke - Component Engineered Tooling Manager, Seco Engineered Solutions
  • Expert Opinion

    The Future Flight Path of Aerospace Technology

    October 1, 2019
    In today’s aerospace industry, manufacturers often feel bound to operate a certain way because it’s a tried-and-true, validated process or because the physics of aerospace dictate certain limitations on materials, systems and designs.
    By Larry Marchand - Vice President, Sales Profile Division, United Grinding North America Inc.
  • Expert Opinion

    The Quest to Maintain Consistency in AM Parts

    October 1, 2018
    Additive manufacturing’s (AM) benefits have long been known to the aerospace industry. Industry leaders, like Boeing, Airbus and GE, have led the charge in using the technology for production parts. They’ve figured out how to increase efficiency and enable on-demand production, while saving money, by incorporating AM into their production process.
    By Greg Reynolds - Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing

Tech View

  • Expert Opinion

    Group Project Advances Rapid Blade Inspection

    October 1, 2018
    Record growth is shaping change throughout the aerospace and defense industry. Vast population growth, developments in emerging economies and increasing global political tensions are driving this boom cycle. Within this industry, the companies building airplane engines are facing huge order backlogs and looking for ways to speed the manufacturing process while maintaining the highest quality.
    By Ken Frescoln - Business Development Manager, Aerospace Engine North America, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
  • Expert Opinion

    Superabrasives’ Virtues

    October 1, 2018
    Increased demand for economically manufacturing challenging aerospace parts faster with higher quality surface finishes is spurring on the development of new bonds and grains for grinding wheels. The latest superabrasives can be an excellent choice for aerospace manufacturers doing production grinding.
    By Dave Goetz - Corporate Application Engineer, Norton | Saint-Gobain
  • Expert Opinion

    It’s Volumetric!

    October 1, 2018
    For aerospace part production, machine tool volumetric accuracy is vitally important. To define it, machine geometry is a function of moving a certain amount of mass along the way system. This movement of mass needs to move straight without pitch, yaw, and roll, because any variation of these three movements is amplified as you get further and further away from the machine tool’s way system.
    By Robb Hudson - CEO, Mitsui Seiki USA Inc.
  • Expert Opinion

    Deep Hole Drilling Control

    October 1, 2018
    Like their peers in the manufacturing sector, many deep hole drilling machine OEMs rely on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) controls or reuse systems from other machine tool platforms they produce. This approach is efficient but often fails to provide a user interface designed specifically for deep hole drilling machines.
    By Sean Hayes - Controls engineer for deep hole drilling systems, Unisig
  • Expert Opinion

    Component Vision Check

    October 1, 2018
    Automated industrial vision systems have become a key component of quality conformance inspection for many industrial processes. They are used to detect defects at high rates far exceeding the capability of the human eye in industries ranging from food processing to electronics and automobile manufacturing.
    By Bill Mongon - President, Accurex Measurement, Inc.

Aerospace Manufacturing

  • Fiber Laser Welding as a Change Agent

    October 1, 2018
    Fiber laser welding is gaining attention in aerospace manufacturing. Manufacturers are looking for ways to automate manual arc-welding processes and to upgrade CO2 and lamp-pumped Nd:YAG laser welding processes to ensure greater consistency and to improve their productivity.
    By Mohammed Naeem - Senior Manager, Applications Engineering & Technology Development, Prima Power Laserdyne

Machines & Automation

  • A Barometer of the Future

    October 1, 2018
    The H160 is Airbus’ next generation medium twin helicopter, incorporating the latest innovations with 68 patents in total and designed to reach the most exacting levels of performance, economic competiveness, availability, safety and comfort—all with a low environmental footprint.
    By SME Media Staff
  • Carbon Composite Inspection Hits New Strides in Automation

    October 1, 2018
    It is no secret that composite materials are extremely attractive to the aviation and aerospace industries, where there has been a significant increase in the use of carbon fiber. What’s not to like? Carbon fiber material has a proven track record of providing superior strength with the added benefit of substantial weight savings.
    By Cliff Bliss - Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
  • Mixing and Matching

    October 1, 2018
    Waco, TX-based Kormachine’s work is focused on roughly seven different industries. Said Colter, “You have to be diverse enough so that when orders in one industry go down, the others are strong enough to carry on.”
    By SME Media Staff

Smart Manufacturing

  • New Tech Helps to Cut Tricky Aerospace Composites

    February 28, 2018
    The list of aircraft parts now being made with composites has grown longer than a TSA screening line: the fuselage, empennage (tail section), wings (including skins, stringers, spars, clips, and wing boxes), nacelles, control surfaces (ailerons, flaps), nose skin, and even floor beams.
    By Ed Sinkora - Contributing Editor, SME Media
  • Smart Manufacturing

    Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed singing praises of composites

    October 12, 2017
    Starting with the primitive laminates of the Wright Brothers era, the use of composites in aircraft has evolved over the last century from small amounts on nonstructural components to up to half of some aircraft and use on critical structures, such as wings. A key benefit is reducing weight.
    By Karen Haywood Queen - Contributing Editor, SME Media
  • Smart Manufacturing

    Lockheed Finds AM Sweet Spot

    July 24, 2018
    Not everything should be additively produced. But military training cockpits should. In the five years since the Advanced Manufacturing Center was first established at Lockheed Martin’s Training and Logistics plant in Orlando, FL, grown parts insertion on end-use applications has steadily grown.
    By Robert Ghobrial - Technical Fellow and AM Technology Strategist, Lockheed Martin
  • Smart Manufacturing

    XR Drives Aerospace Excellence at Boeing

    July 23, 2018
    Extended reality (XR) has burst onto the scene in the last few years, offering us amazing visualization possibilities in myriad application areas along the aerospace supply chain. While there has been explosive growth in this space of late, there is actually a very rich history between XR technologies, aerospace and Boeing.
    By Brian Laughlin - Technical Fellow, Technical Architecture / Strategic Planning, The Boeing Co.
  • Automated Production Measurement Technology Key

    October 1, 2018
    A key requirement of smart manufacturing is the interconnection of measuring instruments, production systems and machine tools. In combination with full measurement automation, this can lead to a step change in performance. The following use case introduces how high-resolution optical 3D measurement and production systems can be connected, resulting in the possibility of measuring tool and workpiece automatically and directly in the machine tool.
    By SME Media Staff
  • Smart Manufacturing

    Metrology helps manufacturers repeat good parts of the past

    February 20, 2017
    Scanning metrology providers respond to varied needs; software improves to help engineers with scan data
    By Bruce Morey - Senior Technical Editor, SME Media
  • BAE Systems, Virgin Orbit Put People First in Digital Journeys

    October 1, 2018
    Some of my colleagues at MESA International, including President Mike Yost, have postulated that knowledge workers should be at the center of all smart manufacturing implementation projects. The goal is not necessarily to automate old production processes.
    By Conrad Leiva - VP Product Strategy and Alliances, iBASEt


  • Smart Manufacturing

    CEOs: Embrace ‘Remote Experts,’ Sensors, Continuous Training, to Address Skills Gap

    July 9, 2018
    Tackling the workforce skills gap issue involves dealing with not only experienced employees who have sharp subtractive manufacturing skills but have to be prodded to move into additive manufacturing (AM) but also newbies who still need to hone skills required to harness the promise of emerging technology, Atlas Stamping and Manufacturing CEO Lynda Prigodich-Reed said.
    By Brett Brune - Editor in Chief, Smart Manufacturing