More and more operations are seeing the benefit of meshing their MRO software with their flight operations IT solutions. Together, the two offer more synergy than perhaps any other pairing to ensure safety, efficiency and profitability. We will take a look at how these two seemingly disparate products can work together to create amazing synergy.
CAD / CAM Services – an industry leading computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering firm with expertise in 3D scanning, modeling, and conversions – has been selected to take part in the U.S. envoy headed to India in an attempt to lend expertise to the rapidly growing civil aviation market in South Asia.
CAD / CAM Services, who is currently partnering with Lockheed Martin on a drone and robotic-based metrology system for the F-35 lightening, was selected as the only CAD company to accompany the group on the trade mission.
India is currently the third largest global market for civil aviation measured by passenger numbers, trailing only China and the United States. Over the next decade, Boeing is predicting the country’s aviation industry will require an additional 2,500 passenger aircraft and by 2035, it is expected that the industry will support 19.1 million jobs and contribute $172 billion to the country’s GDP. However, in order to meet those forecasts, the country is in urgent need of assistance from a number of industries, especially those in high-tech.
The envoy will depart in mid-September for the 5-day mission which will include: briefings with the Indian government’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA); site visits to MROs, airports, etc.; and one-on-one meetings with potential partners.
As one of the few CAD engineering firms in the world certified for high precision conversions by both the aerospace industry and the Department of Defense, CAD / CAM routinely offers in-depth inspection programs designed to provide OEMs with extremely accurate CAD files. This ensures that all CAD drawings and models match the original specifications and are capable of producing parts and assemblies that meet all design requirements.
CAD / CAM Services is well-known for its CAD Perfect conversions, and its engineers are capable of converting any CAD format file into any other CAD system. Its highly experienced CAD engineers can also make the model (or drawing) compliant with any internal aerospace standard.
With its 3D scanning and reverse engineering expertise, CAD / CAM Services is capable of creating replacement parts for both new and older aircraft to further assist aerospace suppliers. CAD / CAM models include full assemblies that are accurate to ±.002” over any X, Y, & Z axis.
AAR CORP. announced the implementation of Airvolution — AAR’s customizable, cloud-based, end-to-end repair cycle management (RCM) tool focused on optimizing the administration of aircraft component repairs — at Textron Aviation Defense.
Airvolution was designed by AAR to meet the demands and challenges of the aviation supply chain by enhancing aviation repair teams’ management efficiencies, reducing operational costs, maximizing productivity, improving component availability, and streamlining supplier performance management.
“Airvolution incorporates AAR’s decades of industry expertise into an easy-to-use SaaS platform,” said Matt Kammerait, AAR’s vice president, Strategy, Planning, and Innovation. “Textron Aviation Defense is an industry leader with a well-known track record for innovation. They were a natural fit for our product launch.”
Textron Aviation Defense LLC — a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc. — will rely on Airvolutionto supplement and modernize current workflows for its repair orders. Textron Aviation Defense will leverage such features as straightforward quote processing, enhanced reporting and data analytics, standardized order management, and comprehensive repair status communications with end-customers and suppliers.
“The launch of Airvolutionis the most recent example of AAR’s focus on developing digital technologies to increase efficiencies and decrease operational costs of our customers,” said Rahul S. Ghai, AAR’s chief digital officer. “Implementation of this product with Textron Aviation Defense demonstrates AAR’s commitment to helping our customers better achieve their goals by providing cutting-edge applications, and we look forward to offering the product to AAR’s
Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) has selected Ultramain Systems to provide its market leading electronic logbook software. ULTRAMAIN ELB fully replaces the aircraft paper technical log, cabin log, journey log, damage log, and fueling logs providing a validated electronic Certificate of Release to Service (e-CRS). The ELB application will be used by Flight Crews, Cabin Crews, and Mechanics on iOS and Windows devices to provide integrated workflows with SAS maintenance and operations systems. Once implemented, ULTRAMAIN ELB will provide a variety of benefits including enabling accurate, real-time global operational visibility of the SAS fleet, resulting in fewer maintenance related disruptions, reduced defect life cycle time, higher dispatch reliability, and increased aircraft utilization. Ultramain’s off-line eSignature validation capabilities will ensure reliable electronic operations even when connectivity is unavailable.
According to SAS, ULTRAMAIN ELB will enable process efficiencies that will avoid disruptions and reduce turn times. The removal of paper-based processes will increase productivity by 6,500 man-hours per annum. As part of the SAS digitalization and paperless initiative, ULTRAMAIN ELB reinforces the SAS commitment to providing sustainable travel. Implementing ELB will avoid the consumption of 300 logbooks per year across the SAS group of airlines.
“We are pleased to welcome SAS to the ULTRAMAIN ELB family. As the launch customer of ULTRAMAIN Electronic Line Checks, a companion product to ELB, SAS will further increase productivity with digital line maintenance check sheets. This is an important step toward the SAS goal of reducing the environmental impact for the communities in which they serve,” said Mark McCausland, president and CEO of Ultramain Systems.
MRO & CAMO software provider ADSoftware has opted to partner with EXSYN Aviation Solutions in the critical area of data migration. The partnership between both the companies will enable ADSoftware clients onboarding on AIRPACK E.R.P. suites to rely on the expertise and bespoke technology of EXSYN in order to smoothly migrate their data from existing systems, as well as phase-in new aircraft into AIRPACK E.R.P.. The first project has already been kicked-off and will cover the phase-in of an A320 into AIRPACK E.R.P.
After developing AMOS and leading the fortunes of Swiss AviationSoftware for more than 20 years, Ronald Scherer (seen in image on the left) has decided that it is time to hand over the baton. Scherer will use his time to pursue various private endeavours in the future, as well as spending more time with his family.
“After dedicating 33 years of my life to AMOS and Swiss AviationSoftware, it is now an ideal moment to induce the generation change. I am very pleased to announce Fabiano Faccoli as new CEO of Swiss AviationSoftware Ltd. He has been with the company for over 20 years (most recently as COO). I am more than convinced that he will keep the company on the road to success with his great experience, which he has gained in various positions he has already held in the company,” said Scherer.
“I would like to thank Ron for his unparalleled passion, dedication and success over three decades. With the first lines of code written by himself in the far 1989, Ron has seeded the foundation for a true entrepreneurial success story. The board of directors is pleased to have found with Fabiano an ideal successor from within Swiss AviationSoftware Ltd. and I’m looking forward to a successful collaboration,” said Peter Wojahn, chairman of the board of Swiss AviationSoftware.
Fabiano Faccoli (seen in image on the right) will assume his role as CEO of Swiss AviationSoftware from August 1st, 2022 onwards and Scherer will remain available to him and the company as an advisor.
“I am honored of having received the trust from Ron and our board of directors to lead Swiss AviationSoftware Ltd. together with our experienced management team. Ron is handing over a perfectly healthy and successful company and I’m very much looking forward to dedicating my energy in writing the next chapters of a true success story,” stated Faccoli.
UK-based Aerogility uses model-based AI to run simulations of complex programs. Aerogility’s chief scientific adviser is Michael Luck, professor of computer science and director of the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training on Safe and Trusted Artificial Intelligence. He said people assume that model-based AI is the same as ML, because ML has become so powerful and successful in a wide range of applications.
But while ML can analyze images or translate what people are saying, in many cases it doesn’t actually understand the significance of the content. In contrast, model-based AI links various specialist databases (also called intelligent agents) in such a way that “what if” scenarios can be generated. This also has the advantage that, if conditions change, the model can be run again.
A good example is provided by the company’s longest-standing airline client, low-cost carrier easyJet, which has used the system since 2018 to organize winter base maintenance programs and engine and landing gear overhauls. Aircraft utilization is used to calculate when the next check is due and then correlated with hangar slots at various MRO facilities to find the best match. A hangar visit is a good time to swap landing gear, so this can also be planned.
In 2019, SAS adopted the system to handle powerplant shop visit scheduling. The SAS fleet is much more diverse than easyJet’s, including Airbus A320 family aircraft, A350s and Boeing 737s. As the system was being introduced, it also had to handle the phasing out of some older 737s and introduction of new Airbus A320/321neo aircraft.
Gary Vickers, CEO of Aerogility, said that while big data and predictive maintenance are becoming more common, they are based on history, extrapolating trends from collected information. That can throw up new problems that have never been detected before. Using Aerogility, airlines can run realistic simulations to establish the likely effect on their operations and then develop the best solution. The simulations can be run again to see how they matched up to the real world and modified if necessary.
One of the most important aspects of model-based AI, Vickers said, is that it is understandable. There is an element of trust when you’re working with huge amounts of data that are too large for human comprehension. On the other hand, Aerogility is composed of readily understandable modules, even though the setup is a complex process.
Looking forward, he sees a new area where model-based AI can have a big impact. It could be used by airlines to simulate various methods of reducing carbon emissions, to identify the best possible outcomes for both their business and their sustainability targets before implementing them in real life. That could be done across an entire fleet while looking ahead to see how these decisions will affect their operations over the next months, years or even decades.
Last year, easyJet continued its commitment to advanced maintenance technology by partnering with Amsterdam-based Aiir Innovations to explore how computer vision and artificial intelligence can speed up borescope inspections and cut out errors by providing automated damage detection.
Aiir Innovations was formed in 2016 by an assistant professor in computer vision and five graduates in artificial intelligence. They had been invited by the AFI KLM E&M engine shop at Amsterdam-Schiphol to see if they could develop a system to automatically analyze borescope video streams to identify faults such as cracks, scratches and dents.
Bart Vredebregt, CEO and co-founder (and one of the students), said initial results were promising but it took a few years to return to AFI KLM E&M with a viable product.
The Aiir software, which includes automated blade-counting, uses image analysis to very quickly generate a report. Damage is flagged before the camera probe has left the engine, while historical footage can be reviewed online.
This last feature was important for their customer MTU Maintenance Lease Services. A problem engine could be anywhere in the world, at an MRO facility or even an AOG at a remote airport. With travel restrictions during the pandemic, the data could be reviewed by all interested parties on Aiir Innovation’s cloud-based platform via a dedicated internet portal. With no room for doubt, quick decisions could be made on rectification and liability.
The latest development, earlier this year, was a technology partnership with Waygate Technologies, which will incorporate a version of the advanced software into its Everest Mentor Visual iQ VideoProbe. In this case, the software will provide automatic defect detection on still images taken during inspections. This transforms the borescope into a true digital assistant, capable of spotting tiny defects that human eyes can easily miss and helping to improve inspection reliability and efficiency.
Vredebregt said many AI projects fail because they are “innovation for innovation’s sake” and they fail to take enough account of human involvement, especially when there is no associated legislation in place. As a result, while prototypes may be easy to create, they are difficult to get accepted by workshop personnel. He is very proud of the fact that the system at AFI KLM E&M is in daily operation and fully accepted by the technicians and seen as a backup to their experience. Having determined the problem, they check the software report in case something has been missed.
For Ramco Systems, ML is being used to develop value-added packages for its enterprise resource planning software, said Saravanan Rajarajan, director of aerospace and defense solution consulting and presales.
The company’s innovation lab in Singapore is working on a number of use cases that could eventually be combined as an optional package. For example, if a mechanic encounters a technical problem, they can consult the system, which will use historical data to identify the most likely cause, with a probability of around 95%. It can also provide details of the parts required for rectification. If the advice is accepted, the ERP system can then automatically process the request, including delivery, inventory management and finance. Rajarajan said the human decision is essential and avoids concerns about replacement by a machine. Of course, if there are any changes to the process — replacement part numbers, for example — they can easily be incorporated as an update.
Ramco is considering image analysis, but the use case is based on scanning packaging labels in Goods Inward and using Optical Character Recognition to enter the details automatically in the ERP system. The company is an ERP specialist and this will always take priority, he said.
OCR is also being used to analyze teardown reports. Rajarajan said they contain lots of useful information but are rarely studied in detail. High-value components can be identified and the system scans the report and places the details in the ERP system.
It can also be used to analyze invoices. A price range is selected for each component and any outliers (high or low) are flagged up.
At flydocs, Mark Bunting, product director of asset management, component management and machine learning, said the company originally started by scanning maintenance records and using OCR to analyze them. Since the company’s takeover by Lufthansa Technik, there has been a shift in emphasis to transfer the technology into other areas. As a result, it has been a busy year.
Yet again, easyJet is involved, with a 10-year deal signed in February that will use the flydocs integration with AMOS MRO software from Swiss AviationSoftware to digitize the records and asset management of its entire fleet of over 300 aircraft. This will include lease transitions. Another AMOS-related deal, an extension for five years, was signed two months later with Wizz Air, to continue to digitize records management and technical services for over 140 aircraft.
In April, flydocs launched its Component Management software, which will enable buyers to procure, sell, and lease parts up to 50% faster, backed by a digital trace. The solution is powered by AI, ML and blockchain. The company has previously partnered with Honeywell on its GoDirect Trade marketplace as well as with the IATA MRO SmartHub.
That was quickly followed by an MoU with Pratt & Whitney’s Commercial Serviceable Assets business, a provider for serviceable material, engines and tailored solutions, to use the software to
provide an optimized solution for inventory and document management as well as a tailored inventory for existing and prospective customers.
The latest development, and another new direction, was an MoU in June with Conduce Group to develop an interface with the latter’s eTechLog8, allowing common clients to keep a central repository for their e-signed tech log pages.
Bunting also highlighted aircraft teardowns as a challenge, especially, he said, the Airbus A380.
Cloud-based maintenance execution, planning, and optimization software solutions provider, EmpowerMX, has appointed aviation MRO veteran, Myles Nichols, as its chief operating officer. Nichols joins EmpowerMX during a period of rapid growth, driven by the company’s expanding global client base, and launch of several new products that provide data-driven visibility and insights, address the chronic shortage of skilled labor, improve fleet utilization, and digitize and automate mission-critical maintenance workflows.
Nichols brings more than 25 years of aviation industry experience to EmpowerMX, and joins the company from MRO Holdings, one of the world’s largest and most efficient MROs, where he also served as Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure at MRO Holdings, Myles led overall operations and cross-functional teams, and also oversaw the successful implementation of EmpowerMX’s software at multiple MRO Holdings facilities. Prior to MRO Holdings, Nichols served as Managing Director of Training, MRO Operations, Inspection and Quality at American Airlines.
“I’m excited that Myles has joined EmpowerMX as our Chief Operating Officer,” said Dinakara Nagalla, CEO of EmpowerMX. “He is a well-known and respected leader in the aviation industry, and has seen firsthand how EmpowerMX’s cloud-based software reduces costs and enhances the efficiencies of aircraft maintenance.During the time when there is an industrywide desire to adapt EmpowerMX to automate maintenance function fueled by huge maintenance back log and labor shortage, Myles is uniquely qualified to oversee our new customer product implementations, customer support and success, and product support functions as the company enters a new phase of growth.”
“I’ve had a front row seat implementing and using EmpowerMX to deliver significant revenue enhancements and productivity gains to some of the world’s leading airlines and MROs,” said Nichols. “I look forward to helping EmpowerMX deliver these benefits throughout the aviation ecosystem by scaling our operations, service delivery, and product capabilities, to support our customers’ efforts and global expansion.”
Nichols will be replacing Jim Sturgis, who will be retiring and transitioning to a senior advisor role at EmpowerMX.
Ramco Systems has successfully gone live at Air Asia Company Limited (AACL), Taiwan’s first privately-owned aircraft maintenance company catering to aircraft maintenance of commercial aircraft, helicopters, military and a designated ‘Government owned contractor operated facility’ (GOCO), with its Aviation M&E MRO Suite V5.9, thereby automating and digitally transforming AACL’s business processes.
With modules for Production Planning, Commercials, Maintenance Execution and Supply Chain Management, Ramco’s one stop solution, Ramco Aviation Suite V5.9 replaced AACL’s existing legacy system for proposal management, production Planning, heavy maintenance process for commercial aircraft, and interfaces with AACL’s inventory management solution. As a result, AACL has now recorded a 15% reduction in its production planning process. In addition, Ramco’s next-gen innovations like its Mechanic Anywhere mobile app and real-time Dashboards together with the digital transformation initiatives for Task Card Management, Electronic Signoffs, enable the company to streamline communication between its departments, analyze manhour consumptions, track opportunity details, progress of work packages and report non-routine tasks on the go.
“With a primary goal to achieve paperless operations and support green environmental protection, and with a vision to become a world-class and professional aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) service provider, we found a perfect technology partner and a best-in-class Aviation software provider in Ramco Systems,” said Eric Y.C. Tsai, director of Commercial Aircraft Planning, Air Asia Company Limited. “Ramco’s rich domain expertise along with the able team members at AACL and Ramco ensured to turnaround this project during the pandemic. Ramco’s Digital Task card feature has been helping us achieve our goal. We are confident that these will be signed off by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well.”
Manoj Kumar Singh, chief customer officer – Aviation, Aerospace & Defense, Ramco Systems, said, “With the growing aviation industry, organizations today are being mindful of choosing innovative solutions that are not only helping them improve efficiency, but are also helping them achieve green initiatives. Ramco’s Task Card Digitization is a step towards sustainability in aviation. Equipped with the latest technology stacks around artificial intelligence and machine learning, Ramco Aviation Suite has been helping companies embrace paperless operations and embark on digital transformation. We are happy to support Air Asia Company Limited in their endeavor and help them scale to greater heights.”
AAR CORP. has signed a marketing partnership agreement with ProvenAir Technologies, to enhance the digital solutions available to AAR customers.
ProvenAir’s digital solution leverages advanced technologies to analyze and dynamically generate back-to-birth (BtB) trace history for life limited parts. ProvenAir automates the BtB process to save aviation customers time, increase records quality, shorten the sales cycle, ease aircraft transitions, and increase the residual value of used serviceable material.
“ProvenAir’s mission is to redefine service in the aviation industry through innovation and technology. We make an impact by digitizing and automating a cumbersome manual process,” said James Boccarossa, ProvenAir founder and CEO. “By partnering with AAR, one of the world’s top MROs and parts suppliers, we will be able to reach more customers and help those customers realize their digitization goals.”
“AAR continues to focus on digital solutions that enhance and differentiate our offerings. We are impressed by ProvenAir’s technology and have been able to realize internal efficiencies from utilizing ProvenAir for our own Parts Supply and Landing Gear needs,” said Rahul S. Ghai, AAR chief digital officer. “Leveraging our global sales team to connect aircraft owners and operators with ProvenAir for the benefit of our customers is a natural progression of our relationship.”
Global aviation software provider Ramco Systems announced that it will implement its Aviation, Aerospace and Defense software for Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP), Brunei’s largest oil and gas company. Ramco’s full suite Aviation, Aerospace and Defense Software will fully integrate and automate aviation operations at BSP.
Ramco’s Aviation Software will offer BSP modules covering Maintenance, Maintenance Inventory for Aviation, Flight Operations, Safety & Quality, CAMO and Technical Records, providing BSP with a next gen digital platform for real-time data visibility across organization and aircraft readiness management. The solution will also provide in-depth analysis on BSP’s complex helicopter operations.
In addition, with its digital enablers like state-of-the-art mobile apps, HUBs and Dashboards, Ramco will help BSP manage its remote operations, enhance process efficiencies, improve productivity and go paperless.
“We are happy to partner with BSP as a part of their digital transformation journey,” said Manoj Kumar Singh, chief customer officer – Aviation, Aerospace & Defense, Ramco Systems. “Ramco’s deep domain expertise bundled with intuitive features will not only integrate and automate BSP’s processes, but will also improve productivity, enhance user experience and ensure timely decision making, thereby bringing in greater efficiency and effectiveness in delivering value. With an excellent track record in the heli space, and our ability to provide a single source of information in real time, we are confident that Ramco Aviation software will offer a digital edge to BSP and help the company reach great heights on their path to digitization.”