Last Monday, November 28, Domingo Ureña, president and CEO of M&M Group, participated in the round table on Digital Transformation organized by the Spanish Aerospace Technology Platform (PAE) in the framework of the celebration of its Extraordinary General Assembly.
During his speech, Ureña recalled that “the aerospace sector has been a pioneer in digital transformation for years, mainly from the driving companies such as Airbus or Boeing”. However, for the former president of Airbus in Spain, the aerospace industry faces a major challenge to continue growing in this area: interoperability.
“How can we create that interoperability between tractors from the digital world to supply chains and how does the same reach us smaller companies in environments like the Digital Twins?” he asked.
“Therein lies the big challenge: finding a way to work together to make everything flow in that supply chain given the difficulties SMEs face in developing interoperability with large tractor companies, but also with intermediaries. Difficulties such as the different standardizations and also the costs associated with the need, precisely, to connect with all these customers,” he added.
In this sense, one of the aspects that can help to accelerate this interoperability process in the aerospace sector is, according to Ureña, “to be open to transversality”, understood as the reciprocal learning between the aerospace industry and others of similar characteristics such as the automotive or railway industries. “This combination of ideas can undoubtedly accelerate improvement instead of leaving us isolated,” he said.
Among the enablers that come into play to continue with this acceleration of interoperability, Domingo Ureña highlighted the work being done by M&M Group through continuous engineering. “Collaborative engineering has to be developed from the engineering of conception, passing through optimization and continuing in the product life cycle. So we have to take engineering from the concept phase through to completion,” he explained.
“SMEs like M&M Group are taking small steps within our means through the development of modeling and simulation. In fact, we could say that, in this still young decade, the magic words to be competitive are those: ‘modeling and simulation’,” added the company’s top manager.
Doubts about R&D grants
With regard to public R&D aid for innovation and digital transformation processes, Ureña expressed his doubts, highlighting the excessive time delay in their execution: “We are running out of time. At M&M Group we have an R&D team that works in these fields of innovation and digitalization, but, in order to access a PTA or a PERTE, the time we are asked for, the huge amount of information, the awarding deadlines… when everything is finished, we have ‘gone over the rice’ and we are left behind. It is a whale that bites its own tail”.
In this regard, Ureña pointed out that in other countries in our environment there is a vision of risk that includes immediate aid. “They help you in time so that you don’t miss the train. However, here in Spain, the SMEs in our sector seem to be taking steps backwards because we never get there,” he concluded.
In addition to M&M Group, representatives of Airbus Operations, Inventia Kinetics and ITP Aero participated in the round table.