Running toward the future

"From industry 4.0 to logistics 4.0: the race to the future has begun"; the title of the event promoted and organized by the Italian Air Force Logistics Command in Rome last Wednesday is self-explanatory.

Jun 2017

As Avio Aero, we contributed to this event with the aim of understanding how the ‘Industry 4.0’ concepts can be applied to the Italian Air Force’s current overhaul of its logistics processes. The occasion enabled us to provide input for the evolution of the entire Italian aviation industry, and was also an opportunity for establishing connections and synergies with projects and experiences from other sectors nationwide. After the welcome address by the Italian Air Force Logistics Commander, Air Marshal Gabriele Salvestroni, it was the turn of the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Air Marshal Enzo Vecciarelli, who underlined that "the search for ever-increasing efficiency is the primary objective for the armed forces. In this sense, Logistics 4.0 is the future. A cultural and technological revolution that is already ongoing, and may represent the driving force for the entire Italian system."

Avio Aero viewed this joint project as an acknowledgment of our value as a strategic partner, capable of guiding and directing the transformation process now under way. However, it was also very interesting to be speaking alongside not only other aerospace companies but also Google, Ernest & Young and leading academics.

After contributions from speakers whose inputs were crucial in providing the necessary context, including the Director General of the Ministry of Economic Development, Stefano Firpo, and from Leonardo, ALA and Trenitalia, the second half of the morning was given over to a panel discussion focusing on the real heart of the debate: the transformation of logistics.

We played a leading role in this part of the proceedings, with Corrado Crotti sitting on the panel with representatives from Google, Elettronica and Vitrociset, not to mention Turin Politecnico and the University of Teramo.

Crotti explained effectively, to an audience including Air Force top brass and high-level representatives of companies, institutions and the universities, that “digital technological innovation can make a major contribution to improving the logistics processes of military fleets, which need to manage not only latest-generation systems but also programs with technologies dating from more than 30 years ago.”

“A fundamental contribution," he continued, "can come from software solutions such as GE's Predix platform, capable of simulating and predicting logistic phenomena by developing specific Analytics."

There was also time for an update on the Additive Manufacturing technology, which plays “a crucial role in the transition to Logistics 4.0," Corrado Crotti underlined, "not only for reconstructing parts originally produced with traditional technologies, but also for the development of innovative repair processes." 

He concluded by mentioning a specific critical factor: the "distinctive and enabling skills" which Avio Aero "is developing in close association with the universities, in our Turin and Bari laboratories."