We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Developing visualisation and AI tools for engineering production

Whiskey Distillery
(Credit: Pixabay)
Researchers based at the STFC Hartree® Centre and the Virtual Engineering Centre, University of Liverpool are working with Airbus in the UK to apply state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) and data visualisation to their production process.

left-hand quote markWorking in collaboration with the
Hartree Centre is enabling us to
explore how innovative use of AI
and data visualisation can generate
insights from our production data in
an accessible way.right-hand quote mark

James Perry, Airbus


During quality control of the aircraft manufacturing processes, Airbus generates large amounts of complex data detailing aircraft build characteristics together with the costs incurred and actions taken to ensure quality standards are met. To improve production efficiency by anticipating disruptions and accelerating problem solving, Airbus were looking to combine AI and data visualisation to offer more insight into their complex quality control processes.


The team first developed a data merging and aggregation pipeline to produce a consolidated dataset for AI and visualisation. In collaboration with the Virtual Engineering Centre, University of Liverpool they went on to create interactive dashboards and 3D data visualisations, enabling individual build characteristics and associated costs to be viewed in the context of similar products. This allowed cost variation to be interrogated over time. The team are now looking to apply machine learning techniques to understand the influence of aircraft customisation and modification on the cost of the build process.

left-hand quote markThe work undertaken as part of the
Innovation Return on Research programme
could help to drive efficiency improvements
in our production and quality control
processes.right-hand quote mark

James Perry, Airbus


Undertaken as part of the Innovation Return on Research (IROR) programme, a collaboration between STFC and IBM Research – this work is generating insights into the collection, organisation and processing of production data required for the application of AI methods.

The data analytics from the project will quantify the opportunities for efficiency improvements in the production process, enabling Airbus to target improvements more effectively. With the analytics tools and visualisations generated, Airbus will be able to interrogate their production data more efficiently, resulting in better data-driven decision making encompassing all available information.

At a glance

  • Using data analytics and artificial intelligenceto discover opportunities for production process improvements


  • Interactive dashboards and 3D data visualisations allowing cost variation to be
    interrogated over time


  • Offering insight into quality control by anticipating disruption, accelerating problem


  • Machine learning to understand the influence of aircraft customisation and continuous product improvement on manufacturing efficiency.

Read the full case study

Airbus QG - enabling Technology

Last updated: 26 February 2020


Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000