MRO is Primed for a Major Boom in the Coming Decade

According to a new report by analyst firm Research and Markets, the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) segment of the industrial economy is expected to grow dramatically by 2030. Currently valued at $1 billion in 2019, a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6% will drive the MRO segment of manufacturing up close to $4.7 billion by 2030.

These projections focus largely on the aviation industry; however, other sectors of manufacturing will contribute to the growth. The report cites increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from sectors such as agriculture, construction, and natural resources.

Spurred by the cloud

Far and away the largest driver of MRO growth in the coming years will be the cloud. Cloud systems have already unlocked tremendous potential in UAVs and are primed to power next-generation capabilities.

The digitization of the manufacturing economy has already laid the groundwork for UAV integration. Manufacturers have already begun pairing drones with high-powered SCADA systems and machine learning intelligence to inspect, detect, and qualify problems inaccessible to traditional maintenance and repair techs. Examples include:

  • Pipeline surveying and problem detection
  • Remote equipment inspection and documentation
  • Site surveying for asset location and documentation
  • Maintenance tech assistance

Industrial companies have already begun customizing programming, routines, repeatable tasks, and data collection across UAVs. As drones become more robust and versatile, customization and cloud connectivity will enable more refined uses and functionality.

MRO around the world

Strong growth projections for MRO aren’t unwarranted. Data suggests strong worldwide demand for MRO as the manufacturing world shifts to more proactive and automated maintenance and repair operations.

The North America MRO aftermarket could generate as much as $187.6 billion in MRO spending over the next decade. Similarly, joint ventures in Eastern Europe ― backed by skilled labor and low costs ―  drive the market for established MROs. Countries such as China, India, and various Middle Eastern manufacturing hubs also expect high demand for MRO, with each making significant investments.

Tailwinds blowing strong

The MRO segment of manufacturing has plenty of additional tailwinds to power it over the next decade. The rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), digitization of asset management, and growing reliance on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) all lend themselves to MRO.

The culmination of these tailwinds feed into a natural shift toward UAV services and MRO automation. The combination of technologies primes airlines and other affected industries for increased revenue through maintenance cost savings. By taking expensive manual labor and reactive maintenance out of the mix, the MRO approach of the future is more streamlined.

MRO growth in aviation and other industries is only the beginning. As UAVs become commonplace and effective, they’ll extrapolate to other sectors of the manufacturing economy. As all things shift digital, it’s only a matter of time before unmanned repair and maintenance creeps into other sectors, bringing with it brand-new benefits.

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