The EU-sponsored DIGICOR project with 11 European partners from 6 countries was successfully presented at one of the world's largest aviation fairs. The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) took place in Hamburg from April 10-12, 2018. In two workshops at the Hanse-Aerospace stand, the project team was able to discuss the platform prototype directly with small and medium-sized suppliers from the aviation industry. Valuable feedback was given on the practical suitability of the implemented functions and tools.
Users wanted access to tenders and finding suitable partner companies as essential basic functions. The project presentation showed that exactly these workflows are represented in DIGICOR in a practical way. The functions for displaying production capacities and progress at the operational level were also welcomed but are not yet of interest to all companies because the degree of automation has not yet advanced to such an extent that these functions can be used sensibly, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises. The availability of the base functionality and implementation of relevant data standards is often not yet available at SME level. In the future, however, this will change in the context of the further digitization of processes at supplier level. Also the push from large manufacturers or OEMs for systems integration will drive the uptake of digital manufacturing solutions by suppliers. A well establish DIGICOR platform can make a valuable contribution here since the perspective of potential users is clear about the need for quickly linking to existing systems and their data.
In addition to the basic functions integrated directly into the platform, the connection of external tools was also shown to the manufacturers at AIX expo. For example, the information management tool NEXT (from Xenthics) was demonstrated. NEXT allows several companies to collaboratively work on the content of common documents. The possibility of assigning dedicated access rights for individual content down to paragraph level is interesting. The possibility to integrate third party tools with DIGICOR platform is of great importance considering the changing industrial trends and also changing needs of manufacturing companies.
Overall, the modularity and flexibility of the DIGICOR platform with regard to the use of various software providers and developers was welcomed. The project team will take this valuable information into account in further development work and keep interested companies informed about further technical implementation.