IoT solutions power a new 'cyber-physical' approach to manufacturing


The multi-billion-dollar European aircraft maker controls half the worldwide commercial aeroplane market.


Airbus has 11 production sites and four assembly lines worldwide. Unlike auto plants, aeroplane assembly lines do not widely use robots in their precision manufacturing, despite the tens of thousands of steps in the assembly of an aeroplane.


By connecting workers and their robotic tools to an IoT platform, Airbus has developed an innovative ‘cyber-physical’ approach, in which an Airbus worker on the factory floor can use a tablet or smart glasses to scan an aeroplane’s metal skin and determine what size bolt is needed in a given hole, and the torque required to install it. That information can then be sent spontaneously to a robotic tool which completes the task.


Using the IoT and augmented reality in this way has helped to speed up production while maintaining the highest quality and safety standards.