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Principles Underlying Technology Management 3

BRIEF OVERVIEW

Technology plays a significant role in changing the aviation industry by making the aircraft; light in weight, they consume less fuel and take longer nautical miles. Two most prominent aircraft companies, the Airbus and Boeing, have led the other companies in innovation. They use more composite material and less aluminium.

Innovation airframe and materials are beneficial for all operators venturing into the airplane industry by reducing the cost of operation, especially on maintenance and fuel costs. Innovation is advantageous in that it ensures that the passengers are comfortable and that the aircraft being designed are environmentally conscious on their pollution. In innovation in their aircraft sector, some factors have to be taken into consideration they include maturity, durability, programme needs and also deal with the maintenance costs (Rösner and Jockel‐Miranda, 2006; p768).

The Airbus Corporation is an example of a company that has made immense strides in the technological area. In 2004 the company spent £ 1.8b in innovative technology, discussed below.

  1. Airframe Technology

The Airbus technological technology is termed as the Airbus intelligent airframe approach. The approach focuses on two aspects that are best innovative materials and optimized design. The aspects involve a four series step which includes functioning, growth, and structures improvement and follow up with intelligent features (Rösner and Jockel‐Miranda, 2006; p758).

1.1 Innovative materials

The modern materials that are used are composite, metal, fibre metal laminates among others. The stiff competition in the Aircraft industry has triggered the innovative spirit resulting in improved performance and cost reduction in the technological industry. This beneficial relation is depicted in (Fig.1). Aircraft is the first corporation to introduce the following progressive airframe technology. For instant in the A 310 with a combined fin, fuselage in the A380 which is indeed unpressurized, initial Laser Beam Welding implementation in the A318 and the composite center wing box (Rösner and Jockel‐Miranda, 2006;p777).

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Fig. 1.
Life Cycle Development of airframe innovations “metals vs. composites” at Airbus

The Airbus has increased their application of both the composite and metal airframe tremendously. It is done by using technology that factor in reducing the weight of the aircraft. For efficiency, the composite materials require the application of materials that will avoid the black metal design (Rösner and Jockel‐Miranda, 2006; p778).

The company lost its market share to Airbus in the 1990s, which brought the company back to the strategy table to formulate a new plan. The company had to options to reduce its production and selling costs of its existing airplanes or to invent new aircraft. The company decided to concentrate on the creation of additional value for its stakeholders by creating innovative aircraft. The company has created the 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft is composed of over 50% composite material that makes the aircraft comfortable to the passenger since it increases the humidity and pressure in the cabin (Hawk, 2005) see (Fig. 2). Additionally; the composite material makes the aircraft light in weight enabling it to take long non-stop trips that shorten the distance for the passengers (Hucko, 2007). The composite material is mainly concentrated on the fuselage and wing. The redesign made the aircrafts comfortable and efficient.

The second concept was to increase the capacity that the aircraft can hold while still flying at the same speed making it efficient not only for the airplane companies but also the secondary customers that are the passengers. Boeing created big jets that had an over 250 traveller faculty with an approximately 8500 nautical miles. The 787 Dreamliner consumes 20% less fuel and 10% less in the cost of seats compared to the original aircraft. Lastly, the craft is made of composite material that does not rust reducing the operational and maintenance costs unlike their counterparts the aluminium aircraft (Murray, 2007).

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