Research & Education

On the front line of technological research

A workshop devoted to Engineering Knowledge Management for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) was held on 5 and 6 February at the Ecotekne campus of the University of Salento in Lecce. Some 20 small, medium-sized and large companies, including Avio Aero, Alenia Aermacchi and GE Oil&Gas, met to discuss and share methods, viewpoints and approaches. In the field of product lifecycle management (PLM) in particular, participants observed a trend towards a strategy that brings together people, processes, business and information.
Our company was represented by a number of colleagues – Alejandro Mayoral, Piera Carrà, Lorenzo Vendrame, Maria Rita Petrachi and Roberto Merotto – who discussed the issue of PLM together with the event hosts DHITECH scarl (Distretto Tecnologico Pugliese High Tech), the leader of the KHIRA project (Knowledge Holistic Integrated Research Approach) in which Avio Aero is a partner along with GE Oil&Gas.
In brief, KHIRA’s mission is to find technological solutions and methods that will be capable of overcoming the complexity of product lifecycle management. This will involve a multidisciplinary approach that allows action to be taken rapidly at every stage of the life cycle by applying the above-mentioned integration strategy.
In his address, Avio Aero’s IT leader Alejandro Mayoral discussed the longstanding partnership between our company and DHITECH and the University of Salento and stressed the importance of extending single, centralized management to include all information on a given product from conception (even before evaluation of participation in the development process) to disposal (exit from the market and end of life).
Alejandro made a number of observations, focusing in particular on data integration with the operational environment and the process of sharing with all players contributing to the product. “The more rapid the integration, the better and more optimized the progress,” he said. “Factories require 4 ingredients to be transformed into ‘smart factories’: IT infrastructures, operating platforms, analysis, and the knowledge necessary to interpret data. This means machines that talk to each other, processes that are self-correcting, and improvements to design specifications that are automatically updated and connected to the operating machines. The gap between virtual and physical is closing rapidly thanks to the Industrial Internet, which will offer the potential for global GDP growth of up to 10-15 trillion dollars over the next twenty years,” he continued.
Maria Rita Petrachi then gave a presentation on the new research networking system being created by Avio Aero.
The meeting was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the work of the other players involved in the project and to share knowledge and discuss technological progress. Prof. Sergio Terzi from the Polytechnic University of Milan, an internationally recognized authority in the field, commented: “Over the years, the University of Salento has established a leadership role in this field and today is the only Italian institute that is discussing and investing in these issues and one of two or perhaps three in Europe.”
Avio Aero is proud be part of the team and to be working closely with these academic and research institutes, and to be present in the same geographical area with one of its centers of excellence.