What Are the Biggest Innovations and Trends in Structural Stress Testing? – Airways | Airlines

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DALLAS — Structural stress testing is one of the most crucial steps in aircraft manufacturing. Without it, aviation companies could face hefty legal fines or, worse, endanger passengers’ lives. This criticality, paired with rising demands for efficiency and low costs, makes it ripe for innovation.

Capitalizing on the latest testing technologies and techniques lets manufacturers reach higher quality standards, streamline production, and unlock new possibilities. Here’s a look at seven of the biggest of these trends.

Airbus fuselage at its Toulouse plant. Photo: Airbus

1. Predictive Analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting virtually every industry, and aviation is no exception. Under the structural stress testing umbrella, AI can predict how different materials or structures will withstand various conditions before any physical experiments are necessary.

Machine learning excels at spotting subtle trends in data and applying these insights to new situations. Consequently, it’s a great tool for finding potential issues in an aircraft’s design or materials. It can find problems humans may miss, find them earlier, and suggest possible solutions.

Applying predictive analytics to the testing phase also enables longer-term maintenance benefits. Similar AI models can analyze real-time plane conditions to determine when they need service—a practice called predictive maintenance. This repair method can reduce breakdowns by 70% and lower related costs by 25%.

Aerospace NTD. Photo: Element

2. Non-Destructive Testing

As tools like predictive analytics become more common, non-destructive testing (NDT) methods are also growing. NDT allows aircraft manufacturers to gauge their product and material qualities without damaging them, reducing costs and streamlining production.

NDT isn’t necessarily new, but recent innovations make it more reliable and thus viable for an industry as tightly regulated as aviation. Much of…

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