This informal CPD article Global Trends in Aerospace Manufacturing and Software was provided by Cambashi, a leading global industry analyst & consulting firm.
Research for Cambashi’s ‘Insights’, combined with data from our software and employment ‘Observatories’, shows that the aerospace manufacturing industry has stood up well through the COVID-19 pandemic and is already returning to pre-pandemic levels or better.
This is partly due to the defense sector, which has been relatively unaffected, and partly because of the space industry, which is a thriving sub-set. Both areas have advanced products with complex supply chains that require sophisticated design/engineering/manufacturing software.
Performance of the Aerospace manufacturing sector after the COVID-19 pandemic
Despite the devastation of the airline industry by COVID-19, the aerospace manufacturing sector has held up well. One reason is that defence programs and the space industry make up a large proportion of this industry and – being government-funded – were relatively unaffected. Another is that commercial aerospace programs are planned with long horizons.
The overall value of the aerospace industry in 2021 was estimated to be more than $US600 billion. The largest player, the US, dropped in value from $US280bn in 2019 to $US220bn in 2020. However, a figure of $US290bn is projected for 2022 surpassing pre-pandemic levels, largely driven by government stimulus, the vaccination program, earlier release from lockdown in many states, and gradual increases in commercial air travel.
As the industry recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, the shape of the aerospace market is changing; players are entering different areas of the supply chain, especially in the aftermarket business – an area where Tier 1 (T1) companies have seen great success over the years. One of the most lucrative aftermarket areas is the engine, specifically the high-pressure turbine, which often requires the most maintenance, and where non-OEM replacement parts cannot be used because of safety risks. OEMs such as Boeing and Airbus are now entering the T1 aftermarket business.
Understand the Software in Aerospace manufacturing
Software plays a major role in this industry as it is essential to design, simulation, production, supply chain, and maintenance activities. The full range of software used includes:
- CAD for design
- CAM for manufacturing planning
- CAE for simulation
- PLM to manage the product lifecycle
- ERP to manage the production/planning and financial processes
- SCM (Supply Chain Management) to manage the supply chain; and
- Service Management software to manage service and maintenance.
The market for ‘technical’ software (PLM, CAM, MCAD and MCAE) used in the aerospace industry globally is dominated by the US, with nearly $US1billion of 2021 sales, followed by France with $US210 million, Germany with $US120 million, and the UK with $US70 million. The US technical software market continues to grow steadily despite the pandemic, showing the importance and resilience of this software market.