Digitalization: Aerospace paves the way to the future

According to a study by Roland Berger, digitalization could potentially increase the European aerospace market by 10 billion EUR by 2025. Digitalization is one of the key areas at ILA Berlin, where visitors can see high-potential technologies and applications in this area.


A trend-setting industry

How can we make civil aviation even greener? And how can we speed up production cycles and improve efficiency of flight operations? Disruptive digital technologies offer whole new ways of doing things and revolutionizing the industry. Here a few of the most important trends:

Industry 4.0:

Thanks to digitalization, industrial production can now become more flexible with networks spanning the world. With this shift, also known as Industry 4.0, the aviation industry can dramatically reduce production times and costs: Designs for planned aircraft and helicopters can be visualized on computers with the help of virtual development tools, thus allowing the concepts to be optimized at an early stage in the process. Industry 4.0 will also allow many aspects of aircraft manufacturing to be automated.

3D printing

Germany is considered a hotbed of innovation in the field of additive manufacturing – otherwise known as 3D printing. The aerospace industry is leading the way in developing this technology; that’s because manufacturing 3D-printed aircraft parts can save time and money while reducing weight. For example, 3D-printed parts can be 30 to 55 percent lighter than their traditionally produced counterparts. For an Airbus A350 XWB, this reduction could decrease aircraft weight by up to 1,000 kilos.


Until now, routine checks were necessary to determine an aircraft’s signs of wear and whether it needed repairs. This meant that aircraft needed to be taken out of service, potentially leading to flight delays or even cancelations. With digital technologies, it is possible to perform predictive maintenance, whereby sensors on the engines continually monitor important parameters to determine maintenance needs. The systems can collect data while the aircraft is in flight and transmit the information to maintenance crews on the ground.

Business models

Entirely new products and services are possible in the aerospace industry with digitalization. One example: personalized information and services for a booked flight. Digital applications can also enable automated transportation systems in the cargo sector, while the logistics industry is already experimenting with drones for express deliveries.

How digitalization is revolutionizing the industry

How digitalization will impact the Aerospace & Defense industry.