Innovating for the skies and beyond; Powering the next generation of exploration

The aerospace industry is a global sector that designs, manufactures, and operates aircraft and spacecraft. It is a highly technologically advanced industry that plays a vital role in the global economy, communication, and exploration. It covers all aspects of aircraft and spacecraft, from development and research of parts and devices for the craft and their remote monitoring, to the manufacturing of full-scale flight vehicles.

The aerospace industry pulls experience from a wide range of disciplines from engineering and manufacturing to business and marketing and is primarily broken into two key sectors of civilian and defence. The aerospace industry supports millions of jobs around the world and is a leading innovator, driving advances in technology and manufacturing. It is a complex and technologically demanding industry, and research is essential to its continued growth and success.

Industry, defence organisations, and governments invest heavily in aerospace innovation, as it is essential for developing new products and staying ahead of the competition. Academic partnerships play a key role in aerospace research, including training future industrial engineers  and developing novel technologies that can be transitioned to industry.

Aerospace research has led to many significant advances in technology over the years. It has helped to develop new quieter, more efficient aircraft engines, new materials that are stronger and lighter, and new avionics systems that are more sophisticated and reliable. Aerospace research has also led to the development of new space technologies, such as satellites that can provide global communication and navigation services.

The UK and European aerospace industries are closely interconnected. Many companies operate in both markets, and there is a high level of collaboration between UK and European companies on major aerospace projects. This collaboration is important for the competitiveness of both industries.

PI-KEM is a valued supplier to the aerospace industry, and our products are used in a wide range of applications. All our Business Development teams have experience in supporting the aerospace industry and our ISO9001:2015 certification ensures we demonstrate the quality standards required for work within this sector.

  • Industry Insights

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    Key products and services that the aerospace industry provides include:

    • Commercial aircraft: Passenger jets, cargo planes, and business jets
    • Military aircraft: Fighter jets, bombers, transport planes, and helicopters
    • Spacecraft: Satellites, launch vehicles, and space stations
    • Aircraft and spacecraft components and engines
    • Aircraft and spacecraft maintenance and repair services

    The main challenges for the aerospace industry, and where innovation is being focused are:

    • Sustainability: Reducing environmental impact by reducing emissions, new aircraft designs and materials the improve aerodynamics, improves manufacturing and operations processes
    • Digitalisation: Including the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data analytics to improve aircraft and spacecraft design, manufacturing, and operations., including development of autonomous and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
    • Space: The space sector is a growing area of focus for the UK and Europe. Governments and private companies are investing heavily in new space technologies, such as small satellites and reusable launch vehicles
    • Defence: Investing in new military aircraft and spacecraft with more complex sensors, materials, and communication methods
    • Monitoring and Communications: Increasing the accuracy and reliability of sensor technologies to improve safety and communication.  Meeting the growing demand for satellite services, such as broadband internet and space to earth observations
  • Innovation Trends

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    • Aerodynamics: How air flows around and over objects, such as aircraft and spacecraft
    • Propulsion: How to generate thrust to propel aircraft and spacecraft through the air and space
    • Structures: Designing and building aircraft and spacecraft that are strong and lightweight
    • Materials: The development and use of new materials in aircraft and spacecraft construction
    • Avionics: The study of the electronic systems used in aircraft and spacecraft
    • Space systems: The study of spacecraft, satellites, and other space-related technologies
  • Academic/ Industrial Partnerships

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    Aerospace research is a rapidly evolving field, and new areas of research are emerging all the time. The aerospace industry is constantly innovating, and research is essential to this process. Examples of research that is focused on these trends in UK and Europe are:

    • Loughborough University and Rolls-Royce partner at the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) to investigate the aerothermal processes within gas turbine combustions systems and how the design affects the performance in terms of aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and emissions. Click here to read article
    • Airbus is developing a new zero-emission, hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft, the ZEROe, which is expected to enter service by 2035. Alongside this will be the infrastructure to produce, supply and store the hydrogen required. Click here to read article
    • The University of Nottingham Institute for Aerospace Technology is collaborating with partners including Airbus Helicopters and GE Aviation on the ASTRAL Project to design innovative solutions for the wings of rotorcrafts. Click here to read article

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