Aras Announces Digital Twin Core for Creating and Managing Digital Twins
MRO iT

Aras Announces Digital Twin Core for Creating and Managing Digital Twins

Aras announced the release of a new application, Digital Twin Core, adding to the set of Aras low-code capabilities for creating and managing digital twins. The Aras Digital Twin Core application provides new functionality for defining the digital twin configuration – the virtual representation of a specific physical asset or unique product instance. This provides the necessary context to interpret and analyze Internet of Things (IoT) sensor data for complicated scenarios such as predictive maintenance, performance optimization, over-the-air software updates and others.

Current digital twin initiatives focus on maintenance effectiveness, recalls, closed-loop quality, product innovation, and production throughput. Problems occur during analysis due to a lack of context or inaccuracies about that asset or product, Aras says.

“As a real-world asset is maintained, updated and retrofitted, companies need the ability to easily reflect the real-time accurate status of the digital twin configuration,” said Peter Schroer, founder and CEO of Aras. “Without an accurate configuration twin, companies risk analysis misinterpretations that lead to incorrect actions, safety issues and liability scenarios.”

aras logo
aras logo

Aras says their Digital Twin Core creates and manages the exact digital representation of an individual physical asset and its changes over time. This digital twin configuration mirrors a specific unit in operation such as an individual vehicle by VIN or aircraft by tail number. Digital Twin Core provides a low-code editor for modeling, adapting and extending highly sophisticated configuration twin representations. When combined with Aras 3D product navigation and graph views, users gain advanced visualization to see digital twin relationships throughout the product structure, the company says.

iBASEt Partners with Proceedix to Integrate Wearable Technology in Digital Production and MRO Work Instructions
MRO iT

iBASEt Partners with Proceedix to Integrate Wearable Technology in Digital Production and MRO Work Instructions

iBASEt has a new technology partnership with Proceedix, a Software-as-a-Service platform provider. The companies says the partnership allows organizations to extend paperless work instructions and enterprise procedure capabilities with smart glasses and other Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices from the iBASEt digital operations suite.

Digital work instructions continue to grow increasingly complex and data-intensive. Manufacturers and MRO organizations are challenged with implementing social distancing and eliminating paper from operations processes while delivering accurate, up to date intelligence to frontline workers. Advanced technologies like AR can advance these initiatives, resulting in immediate productivity improvements.

This new partnership provides iBASEt customers with a solution that can simplify the complex transfer of accurate knowledge and digital work instructions through smart glasses. By offering an unlimited capability for manufacturing workers to ask questions, read materials, and gain insights into production processes, smart glasses can safely streamline the delivery and execution of work instructions, the company says.

“We are excited to partner with iBASEt to empower manufacturers to operate with greater efficiency by introducing smart glasses to the shop floor,” said Michelle Krogmeier, vice president of North America, Proceedix. “We look forward to working together to bring new innovative solutions designed to meet the unique requirements of complex discrete manufacturing organizations.”

“Partnering with Proceedix is just one in a series of partnerships we’re working on to bring the industry’s leading advanced technologies to our customers,” said Naveen Poonian, president of iBASEt. “We’re excited to be strategizing with our customers in choosing investments that expand our manufacturing and sustainment platform to meet their advanced manufacturing needs.”

ATP’s Acquisition of Flightdocs Opens up Possibilities for Both
MRO iT

ATP’s Acquisition of Flightdocs Opens up Possibilities for Both

In a year of black swan events, finally some good news. This spring the timing was right and the fit was perfect, according to ATP CEO Rick Noble, for the acquisition of Flightdocs, a maintenance tracking, inventory management and flight operations software platform. ATP, an information services company as well as a software solutions provider of products like ChronicX and SpotLight, says the two companies fit together perfectly, adding and enhancing the total portfolio of offerings.

“Parker Gale, the private equity firm that owns us, acquired ATP in September of 2015. [Flightdocs] has been on our radar, no pun intended, for about five years now. This wasn’t a snap decision,” Noble says. “Flightdocs really expands our reach in the business and general aviation segment and although we weren’t in software maintenance, per se, we were in that space in a big way with the technical publications and the information services,” says Noble. He says the synergies were apparent and they are already plotting further reach and new products. “We think it’s going to enable us to create some collaborative products and new products that really allow our customers to do lots more under one interface,” says Noble.

Rick Heine, CEO,Flightdocs and Rick Noble, CEO, ATP
Rick Heine, CEO,Flightdocs and Rick Noble, CEO, ATP

Both he and Rick Heine, CEO of Flightdocs, agree that the overall reception from existing clients and long-term customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Heine says the size and scope of Flightdocs will benefit with tremendous new capabilities. “Our customers like it – merging with a company that has complementary products – they can see the synergies naturally and know we will be able to provide new levels of service with this all-in-one solution,” Heine says. “There’s a lot of excitement about what it could be.”

Heine and Noble tout the numbers, saying they collectively have 7,500 customers and 137 countries, about 75,000 maintainers “using one or more of our products and in some way, shape or form we touch 140,000 aircraft.” The benefits to those users will include a seamless interface between the two products. Efficiencies, data redundancies and a greater reach are also among the benefits that the acquisition will bring to the both sets of customers. “Just because you have technology doesn’t mean it is the right technology,” says Lee Brewster, director of communications, and industry engagement within the newly blended companies. “Just think of how many times copying and pasting data from a Word doc to another program is required. Every time that data is moved includes the possibility for errors. Now that possibility will be greatly reduced. We are aiming to be the single source of truth,” Brewster says.

“Imagine you’re using Flightdocs Maintenance to maintain your aircraft or your fleet of aircraft. Very soon, when you’re in that application, you’ll be able to go directly, seamlessly over to ATP and get access to the technical publications needed or the regulatory content that you need to work on those aircraft. The reverse could be true as well,” adds ATP’s Noble. “We’re really confident we can create something very unique in the market place. Bringing everything together under a single interface, it’s just going to make it easier and easier for our customers to up their efficiency.”

As for the acquisition process itself, both companies say it has gone smoothly. Noble, who has been a part of numerous acquisitions during his executive career believes this is not common. “This is a competent group of business people. We all agreed on the direction of the business,” Noble says. “The senior leadership at Flightdocs is very in line with our team. It has been business as usual.” Both CEOs agree that the two companies’ cultures are very similar, both dedicated to having high quality, reliable products. “Egos were checking in a file cabinet. ATP has been a great listener. They are very professional group. It has been one of the smoothest transactions out there,” agrees Flightdocs CEO Heine.

“One of the things we learned in the process was that we’re big on net promoter scores at ATP and the net promoter scores for the Flightdocs products were just off the charts,” Noble says. Net promoter scores are a measure of customer experience and can predict business growth and overall perception of a brand.

With the background work happening during the previous few months, Noble says doing the acquisition during a pandemic brought some special challenges. “Normally in a case like this, we we’d have had lots of meetings, face to face, with various people from both organizations. And we certainly did that. But it was all done like we’re doing this meeting today, on Zoom,” he says.

“We feel that we’re all one business and I think we’ve come together much more quickly than I’ve seen in the past. We’re having a weekly, company-wide all hands meeting to explain what we’re doing and how things are coming together,” Noble says. “Right now we’re in the midst of what we call executive hello sessions, where each of us gets on and talks about what we do. Today’s was our chief revenue officer. But in the short term, we see some really obvious joint products where we can let Flightdocs and ATP customers move back and forth seamlessly,” Noble notes.

The two companies say there are some other product opportunities that need to be more fully tested out but could offer great potential. One of those products is ChronicX, a solution ATP says identifies, consolidates and ranks recurring and potential chronic defects across fleets. ATP says it is currently in use on 25 percent of the world’s commercial airline fleet. “Is there a version of that product we could create for corporate flight departments? We think so,” says Noble. Also, he thinks bizav operators could also benefit from their product, SpotLight. It’s a cloud-based solution that combines troubleshooting with curated, validated field experience. Noble says that product is already in use on the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as a version of that for the Boeing B737. “So, is there a market for that product for say, a King Air? Or Challengers? Both of those aircraft are very heavily represented in the flight docs customer base,” Noble says.

The current business environment doesn’t seem to worry either Noble or Heine. They both report seeing a relatively quick recovery in business and general aviation, which Noble called “a nice surprise.” “We obviously expected it to recover and it wasn’t nearly as affected, I would say, as commercial aviation. But, it’s coming back very quickly,” says Noble. Heine adds, “Bizav is rebounding now ahead of commercial aviation. This corona scare will subside. People need to engage with one another and will start to travel and get back to normal.” Noble is slightly more conservative in his take on the overall impact to aviation. “Flight departments, I think, are going to be busier than usual, because companies are probably going to be more cautious about sending their people on travel on commercial aircraft.”

Heine, who lives in Florida near Flightdocs headquarters is bullish on the overall economy as well. “Underlying sectors of the economy are very strong here in south Florida. Recreation and construction are significant here, now. If you look at the roads, we are as busy as ever. People are shifting and starting to cautiously go back to their lives.”

Going Paperless in the Hangar by Charlotte Adams
MRO iT

Going Paperless in the Hangar by Charlotte Adams

In their highly regulated environment MROs often rely on paper to document compliance to the authorities and job performance to customers. Some paper documents are required by regulators, and paper is the preferred medium of some lessors and customers.

But now environmental as well as business concerns point toward paperless. IATA is calling for paperless transformation while assuring aviation safety, security, and environmental sustainability. Although many leading players have embraced software solutions that boost efficiency and reduce waste, much more can be done.

AAR’s Brian Sartain, senior vice president of repair and engineering services agrees that there is a renewed urgency for MRO businesses to focus on environmental concerns. “Companies and consumers across industries have an increased focus on sustainability,” he says. “Internal digitization and reducing our usage of natural resources like energy, paper and water are important to us, and we have made quite a few strides in our MRO network, particularly.”

U.S. repair stations are a “kind of untapped market” for the software, asserts Pete Sasson, an MRO veteran and software specialist who recently founded PG Air, a software consulting firm. Apart from the rare case of a perfect paper process, it’s advantageous to go paperless no matter what size you are because it drives so many other efficiency improvements, he says.

Bad Wrap?

“Paper-centric processes can be efficient and cost-effective when applied properly,” says Allan Bachan, managing director of MRO operations at the consultancy, ICF. What’s more, electronic and digital methods have their own challenges. Both actually can be more costly and inefficient depending on how they support MRO, he says. “In fact, we have seen digital methods mirror paper processes rather than replace [them] in many instances, thus adding to overall costs and inefficiencies.”

However, MRO AAR says going paperless would increase their efficiency and reduce waste, which are key objectives in their sustainability plan. “The ability to electronically sign off work cards will cut a significant amount of administrative time in MRO operations,” says AAR’s Sartain. “Eliminating the use of paper and other environmentally impactful materials is a priority always.” Sartain says eliminating time in administrating paper will lead to a direct improvement in profitability since more time can be spent working on the aircraft instead of shuffling paper. AAR believes that improvements will be in the 5-10 percent range. MRO Software provider ULTRAMAIN concurs, saying the true benefit of paperless is that MROs won’t need to make the efficiency vs. environment decision. These two things simply go hand in hand.

Most MROs still use paper as the basis for routing work cards and documents that require official sign off for regulatory officials, Sartain says. “We do believe that we can increase our efficiency approximately 10 percent through the elimination of paper work instructions,” he adds.

“Paper centricity in aviation MRO operations continues to be contingent on the need for documented compliance — regulatory, legal, and financial,” agrees Bachan.

“At this point, aviation authorities do not encourage or discourage paperless operations per se, but they most certainly do have regulations pertaining to them and digital records,” says John Stone, vice president of product management, for ULTRAMAIN. “They need to because when the system of record is purely digital, operators and regulators need to know the integrity of the system is uncompromised.”

Historically, paper records were used to route parts through the process, and operators could stamp and record completion. This paper becomes an official maintenance record that needs to be kept in a safe place, explains Alejandro Mayoral, senior vice president, information technology, for StandardAero. Canada’s Form 1 — for release to service — remains a paper requirement by regulation, according to AJW Technique.

AJW Sajedah Rustom
Sajedah Rustom, AJW Techninque’s CEO, says it completed an assessment of shop floor processes to identify opportunities to go digital and paperless. AJW image.

In the leased or mortgaged aircraft/engine ecosystem — more than 65 percent of the world’s airplanes and engines — paper is still “the most common data source for maintenance records,” Bachan says. “Cross-border transfers and registrations of aircraft require perusal, audits, and detailed reviews of these records to assess asset worth, airworthiness, and ownership status.” It’s just “an ongoing reality that owners and lessors still need to have ‘dirty fingerprint’ records, which may also be scanned, processed, and managed as digital images,” Bachan says.

AAR says that there is a renewed urgency for MRO businesses to focus on environmental concerns. AAR image.
AAR says that there is a renewed urgency for MRO businesses to focus on environmental concerns. AAR image.

Full-cycle and holistic paperless MRO operations are still at least 10 years away, he adds. “Until regulators, lessors, owners, and operators agree on the many supporting protocols, solutions will be confined to select process elements and stakeholders.”

Low-Hanging Fruit

Paper-centered processes can be difficult to scale. Inefficiencies start with the MRO having to print and sort the task cards for its engineers, says ULTAMAIN’s Stone. “This is a big process…sometimes filling rooms full of [boxes of] paper, because the number of task cards is so large.” Task cards include approved checks but also other tasks stemming from service bulletins, airworthiness directives, and engineering orders, as well as deferred maintenance items. “With ULTRAMAIN the entire process is paperless,” Stone says. “Upon receiving electronic pdf task cards from the airline, an MRO using ULTRAMAIN auto ingests them where many thousands of task cards can be auto-scanned very quickly. As part of the scanning/uploading process, ULTRAMAIN separates the data from the rendering of the data where each card becomes data separate from how the pdf card looks.”

Paper can’t be key word-searched and must be stored. It’s very time-consuming, for example, to assess the effectiveness of your maintenance program by reviewing paper records, says Daragh Cunningham, senior director, AMOS Americas. AMOS is developed and maintained by Swiss AviationSoftware, which is owned by Swiss International Airlines and part of the Lufthansa Group.

Completing documentation for paper-based operations can take weeks after the work is done and certifying that all work was accomplished by properly certified and current engineers. “Airlines will not pay without such documentation,” Stone says. “This happens is real time with ULTRAMAIN because it won’t assign work to unqualified staff or accept signoffs from unqualified engineers or inspectors. The audit trail is created as the work is done. Clear, simple, and nonrefutable.”

Historically MRO operations have required a large amount of paper, Mayoral says. “One single component or an engine would have multiple records associated with it, covering logbooks, routers, certificates, inspection records, etc. … Producing, managing, storing, and retrieving [paper documents] are labor-intensive [processes].”

AAR says they are using less paper currently than in years past. “Most MROs are looking at prints and technical documentation through the use of revision-controlled electronic documents instead of printing them out,” according to Sartain. “I think that U. S. airlines and MROs are not as far along in digitization as European MROs due to the costs involved in going paperless and the requirements for regulatory compliance.”

ULTRAMAIN’s Stone says going paperless brings large efficiency gains and related cost savings, which is justification enough for MROs and airlines to switch to paperless operations. “Efficiency goes up, profits goes up, quality goes up, safety goes up, as does customer satisfaction. Regulators are all for systems that improve safety and auditability,” he adds.

Paper Footprint

AAR believes virtually all the tasks that are carried out in the hangar can be digitized, but acknowledges the systems required to make these digital documents official in the eyes of customers and regulatory authorities are quite expensive and difficult to implement. “AAR has digitized delivery of technical documentation and is piloting systems that would enable a completely paperless work package with our customers currently,” Sartain says.

Some aircraft checks require 400 to 500 task cards, involving up to 600 pieces of paper, Sasson says. Multiply those 600 pieces of paper by four or five checks a night, and you’re talking about “reams and reams of paper.” Printing, organizing, binding, and distributing all this paper might take maintenance planners an entire day. Sasson has implemented AMOS maintenance software for several airlines, and is working with cargo carrier, USA Jet, and other airlines and maintenance organizations.

Some paper manuals are low-hanging fruit for electronic conversion, both to streamline processes and reduce waste, Sasson says. The minimum equipment list (MEL) manual, for example, at some airlines might be 1,000 pages long, multiplied by the number of pilots, managers, and directors who need copies.

Managing changes to the massive paper manual can be complicated because it involves both airline operations, which owns and revises it, and maintenance, which also uses it. Every change has to be printed and distributed to maintenance, as well as signed for by that department, so their copy is not found to be out of date when the FAA pays a call.

Is Going Green a Bunch of Hogwash?

Aviation Maintenance took a deeper dive into the environmental aspects of going paperless with John Stone, ULTRAMAIN’s vice president of product management. We asked Stone if it is possible for MROs to eliminate paper 100 percent and what difference that would make to the environment. Since most discarded paper in the U.S. goes into landfills and does not biodegrade or return CO2 to atmosphere and tree harvesting is mitigated by replanting, is there truly a benefit? Here is what he had to say:

Any MRO or airline that transforms paper processes to digital processes will completely eliminate paper in such processes. But until the industry as a whole goes paperless 100 percent elimination of paper is probably not a realistic expectation.

Regarding what difference would it make to the environment to eliminate paper use, that’s an interesting question. All life on earth is carbon-based so we are never eliminating that — ever, but people do wish to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and measures can be taken to do that. The question is, is elimination of paper one that helps?

Trees (and plants) are not only beneficial, they are necessary and critical because they absorb CO2 and emit O2. By and large paper pulp is produced from farmed trees today (planted and harvested trees) not natural forest trees, so production of paper does not remove trees from the planet. Just the opposite, the more tree farms that exist, that would not otherwise exist except due to paper pulp production, the more CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and the more O2 is produced.

In light of tree farms one can make an argument that the more that paper is used the more tree farms will exist and consequently the more CO2 will be removed from the air. Regardless, whether a tree is harvested for paper production or grows old, dies, and decays in a forest, in the end it existed in the ecosystem. In doing so does a tree absorb more CO2 during its life than it returns as it decays after it dies? Paper ends up in landfills, no doubt about it, but it is also recycled to make other paper products. How many times can that be done for a given piece of paper? What impact does that have? How much energy is needed to do it? What’s the net effect of all of this overall? Opinions vary.

What we do know is that oxygen makes up 21 percent of our atmosphere where CO2 makes up less than one half of one percent (.04 percent) so CO2 makes up a very small percentage of the atmosphere. Furthermore, of the small percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, how much comes from biodegrading trees/paper? Any at all? Considering it all, how much meaningful reduction in CO2 in the atmosphere can be realized by not using paper vs using paper? Environmentally speaking, does not producing and using paper matter? Does not growing tree farms matter?

If you look at how much CO2 is generated by shipping, flying, and trucking paper to where it’s used, reducing its use would undeniably reduce CO2 in the atmosphere generated from transporting it. One would think just doing that would be valuable in reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.

An airline’s maintenance program manual is also a good candidate for conversion, Sasson says. These manuals — which spell out a carrier’s maintenance procedures — can be “a couple thousand pages long.”

“Paper introduces many inefficiencies,” agrees James Elliott, senior business architect, aerospace & defense, for IFS, the provider of Maintenix MRO software. Examples are “time spent on data entry, inaccurate re-keying of information from paper into the maintenance information system [MIS], and inefficient search and retrieval.”

Elliott asserts that “paper in any process is a bottleneck,” as it is a “single-user medium.” He cites the case of a plane full of passengers that must wait until “the mechanic fills out a paper form, walks it to the cockpit for a captain’s signature, and then returns it to maintenance operations.” The cash and goodwill cost can be significant, he says. The right software can make the entire process digital, faster and even safer.

Duncan Aviation

Although paper is far from the worst ecological issue in the aviation industry, it’s an issue that can be mitigated via software systems that force process redesign.

There are many ways to reduce paper footprint. Bizjet MRO, Duncan Aviation, developed electronic work order and signoff systems back in 2007, says Rich Teel, IT systems and programming manager for the company.

AAR Brian Sartain
“We do believe that we can increase our efficiency approximately 10 percent through the elimination of paper work instructions,” says AAR’s Brian Sartain, SVP repair and engineering services. AAR image.

In addition to its business advantages, the software probably saves at least half a million pieces of paper a year, Teel estimates. That’s just counting the work order header pages and associated paperwork for the more than 50,000 work orders the MRO processes every year. The savings are actually much more than that since many other activities now documented in the software previously required paper, he says.

Duncan Aviation also plans to roll out a new version of its work order system that can run on a smart phone, he says. Technicians will be able to document and sign off on their work using phones, instead of having to get out of an airplane and go to a computer terminal, because the new process will not require a badge swipe.

The new system also will allow mechanics at all of the MRO’s satellite locations, as well as its rapid response teams, to sign off on work via their phones. They won’t have to look for a computer that’s hooked up to the company’s network. The new system will allow them to use a browser-based application to communicate with the work order system.

Maintenix

Qantas and Executive Jet Management (EJM), longtime Maintenix customers, are ahead of the paper curve, Elliott says. Qantas has been on board for a decade and Executive Jet Management (EJM), a bizjet charter operator, went live with an FAA-certified solution in 2008.

EJM’s implementation of e-signature translated into environmental as well as business gains. “A typical work order for EJM might be 200 pages long,” Elliott says.

“A mechanic might have to flick through every single page just to identify the open tasks and then make that into a separate list for the next shift. That might take 20-30 minutes and it could be easy to miss things,” he says.

The company estimates that the efficiencies within shift turnover activities alone save up to 10 labor hours each day. It also attributes a 60 percent reduction in work package setup time and nearly $400,000 in yearly labor cost savings to the solution.

AJW Technique

AJW Technique uses around 150 boxes of paper per year, says Sajedah Rustom, CEO. But this has already been reduced significantly, as technician manuals are now electronic. “We would expect potentially a further 30 percent reduction related to future digitization projects,” she says.

The Canadian component MRO recently completed a day-long assessment of shop floor processes — from receiving all the way through the final production process — in order to identify opportunities to go digital and paperless, Rustom says. “I want technicians to spend most of their time touching components and repairing them,” versus doing paperwork. This is an environmental issue but also an efficiency issue, she says.

AJW Technique is looking at technologies such as bar coding, voice recognition, data analytics, and AI to increase efficiencies and reduce paper usage. She expects bar coding to speed up the induction process, for example. Voice recognition could be helpful in initial diagnostics, and AI and more advanced technologies could play a role in areas such as the costing of work — if the same workscopes on the same part types have been performed on a frequent basis. Rustom expects to have made significant progress on the paperless initiative by mid-2020.

Hurdles

Major obstacles to going paperless involve “the vast maturity gaps with technology adoption and readiness in the operator and MRO ecosystems,” Bachan explains. “Practically all [MRO] tasks can potentially be made fully digital” — from source publications through to work instructions and signed-off tasks proving compliance.

“Electronic signature is probably the biggest hurdle,” Sasson says. Because everything is called out in maintenance manuals, adopting e-signature involves a “pretty intensive revision” to the manuals plus regulatory approval. This is manpower-intensive, which makes it difficult for lean-running U.S. MROs. AMOS and Maintenix provide this function.

Another paper-intensive area is OEM documents, Cunningham notes. In the hangar mechanics often print relevant pages from the aircraft maintenance manual (AMM). After a task is completed, that paper has to be thrown out because of AMM revision control. “Mechanics can’t just keep a copy of an AMM section in their pocket” and reuse it another time, he says. OEMs revise manuals frequently, so mechanics have to check the AMM each time they prepare to do anything.

Without a mobile version of the manual, the mechanic has to use paper. You have to print the task card and a 2-10-page section of the AMM. AMOS can be used on any mobile device, he says.

Maintenix also supports maintenance operations, including e-signatures, on mobile devices, Elliott says.

Duncan Aviation’s electronic signoff is essentially an electronic signature, Teel says. The MRO also has a project with CAMP Systems, the maintenance tracking company. “They used to send us hundreds of inspection items required for each job” in paper format, Teel says. The MRO is working on downloading that data electronically into its work order system instead. (A single inspection can involve hundreds of pieces of paper.) So on the MRO side technicians are in effect filling out CAMP’s task cards electronically rather than manually, and the data is being stored in the MRO’s computer systems. Teel estimates this will save at least 300,000 pages of paper a year.

777: Paperless Airplane?

The Boeing 777 was in production in 1995. “No paper was used to design and produce that aircraft,” says Allan Bachan, managing director of MRO operations at the consultancy, ICF. So the opportunity to maintain a digital — fully paperless — thread for each aircraft coming off the production line has existed for the last 24 years.”

There are an estimated two million part numbers making up the 777, he says. “If we conservatively assume one sheet of paper for each, then that’s how much paper was eliminated” by Boeing at the front end. “The irony is that the management of each aircraft throughout its lifecycle will incur an estimated 10 times that (design) volume of paper.”

Yet conversion to mobile is not widespread. Recent IFS research on commercial aviation mobility showed that only 17 percent of respondents could access an entire enterprise software suite on a mobile device, Elliott says.

The study results show that overall, only 31 percent of respondents regularly accessed their enterprise software using a mobile device. Of the respondents that stated they could access enterprise software using a mobile device, only 14 percent could access all functionality in this fashion, while the remaining respondents could access some modules of a suite but not others.

AJW Technique is looking at electronic data interchange (EDI) for paperless exchanges of quotes with its customers. The MRO is also reaching out to its supply chain, both the component OEMs and smaller, local suppliers, Rustom says. “It could be something as simple as a data link.” AMOS also enables data exchange between customers and third-party partners, thanks in part to EDI standards defined by IATA.

Pete Sasson
Going paperless in MRO drives many other efficiency improvements, says Pete Sasson, software consultant and founder of PG Air. PG Air image.

In all probability, however, some paper will remain. One example is engine logbooks, which need to accompany engines that are sent out to third-party shops, Sasson says.

“There may still be printed information in the form of labels or other types of identification, … which would travel with the components through the maintenance process,” Mayoral adds.

Others point out that viewing AMMs on a mobile device might not be a good experience on a tiny screen, so that printing pages from the manual may remain a common practice.

MRO iT

DocuNet’s Latest Innovation Supports Airbus OLB Data

Vistair Systems, a developer of aviation management software, has released a major upgrade to its document management solution, by supporting Airbus OLB data in the DocuNet Viewer.

As part of the upgrade, Airbus operators using Flysmart, LPCNG or the OIS, can now benefit from a seamless and unparalleled user experience when managing their Airbus data within our DocuNet solution, without the requirement for any technical expertise. 

In addition, all interactive features of OLB data such as information layering, cross linking between OLB documents, filtering and embedded multi-media content are supported, ensuring greater engagement for end users.

“Vistair has a long-standing commitment to developing the best-in-class document management technology,” said Ian Herbert, CEO. “We want to ensure that our customers have the optimum solution for managing mission-critical documentation. Supporting OLB data format will provide a new level of intuitive user experience whilst delivering additional time and operational efficiencies to users.”

Currently being rolled out to their existing global client base operating Airbus fleets, the company says feedback has been “uniformly positive.”

“By introducing support for OLB data format, we show our commitment to our international customers around the globe, allowing them to effortlessly manage documentation whilst adhering to the highest industry safety standards,” David Hedley, CTO added. “We are looking forward to rolling the update out across our customer base.”

MRO iT

American Defense Contractor and Training & Adversary Air (ADAIR) Support Provider, Tactical Air Support selects Ramco Aviation Suite

Global aviation software specialist Ramco Systems announced that it will implement its Aviation M&E MRO Suite V5.8 at Tactical Air Support, a defense contractor and aviation training and Adversary Air Support provider based in Reno, Nevada. With this partnership for digital transformation, Ramco now counts three of the top four defense adversary air operators in the United States as its customers.

Ramco says their full suite Aviation Software with Supply Chain Management, and usability enablers such as Hubs, Dashboards, Workflows, Alerts, Notifications and Actions will enable Tactical Air Support to automate supply chain activities that were previously manually managed, doing away with paper updates while permitting retrieval of real-time information on a unified dashboard. The company also believes Ramco’s Anywhere Apps on mobile – Warehouse Anywhere, Tool Anywhere, and Approve Anywhere, will ensure “real-time data visibility and monitoring, on the go.”

Ramco Aviation suite’s compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) will ensure all the defense regulations are met thus resulting in significant cost savings.

RC Thompson, CEO, Tactical Air Support Inc., said, “As our business continued to grow, manual, paper based systems were weighing heavily on our efficiency. We evaluated multiple vendors and found Ramco to be the best fit for our needs. Ramco’s defense domain knowledge coupled with experience in implementing solutions for defense adversary air operators is a key reason why we chose them as our digital transformation partner. In addition, we were highly impressed with their advanced technology tools and ability to ensure defense / ITAR compliance which sealed the deal in their favour.”

“Our association with Tactical Air Support underscores our track record of successfully implementing highly specialized software solutions for the Defense segment. With this win, 3 out of 4 U.S headquartered adversary air operators now trust Ramco,” Virender Aggarwal, CEO, Ramco Systems, said. “By leveraging latest technological stacks, we at Ramco have been offering innovative solutions to our clients, and utmost support to ensure a seamless digital transformation. We are confident that this win will help us mutually strengthen our footprint in the Defense segment.”

MRO iT

RCT Partners with Reliable Industries

Global smart technology specialist RCT is partnering with American company Reliable Industries to supply quality technology solutions to mobile equipment around the world.

The partnership involves RCT manufacturing its foundation products the Muirhead protection systems, their industrial fleet management system Smartrack Global and its AusProTec specialized electrical parts range.

Reliable Industries will supply the products to their existing customer base consisting of mining, power generation and industrial companies located in more than 60 countries.

The 40-year-old company will explore opportunities to implement additional RCT technology solutions to their clients on a case-by-case basis.

Andrew Sells, RCT dealer, said the partnership will greatly benefit both companies.

“RCT and Reliable Industries both have reputations for providing quality technology options around the world and going forward we can offer our services to a very broad customer base,” Sells said.

“Both companies understand that prompt service and having stock on the shelf ensures that our customer base is well serviced, both RCT and Reliable share this common value.” he said.

“Our Muirhead and AusProTec products incorporate decades of experience operating in mining and industrial operations in some of the world’s harshest conditions and they will rise to any occasion.”

“We regard Reliable Industries as a very competent partner with a history of supporting clients in all of their operational needs.”

Reliable Industries International’s Christopher Callow, sales manager, has welcomed the partnership.

“Reliable Industries has worked in association with RCT for many years now and they rise to the challenge every time,” he said.

“RCT has a vast array of quality products that solve many problems which our clients encounter across the scope of their organizations.”

MRO iT

WinAir Offers Way to Manage Variable Currencies with Part Sales

With Part Sales for WinAir Version 7, the company says businesses can avoid miscalculations, time-consuming revisions, poor relationships with clients, invoices that are drastically different than initial quotes or even financial burdens if your company absorbs the costs of errors in calculations.

WinAir says these scenarios can be reduced with automated processes that will ensure precision quotes. Since WinAir’s Part Sales works together with its Inventory, Maintenance, and Accounting products, handling aircraft part sales can be accomplished in one solution. Also, with WinAir’s built-in quote approval process, businesses can rest easy knowing that an additional mechanism for oversight is in place so that quotes are accurate before submitting to the client.

WinAir says there are six operational advantages of managing variable currencies in Part Sales:

Automated Processes – Automated processes remove the need for manually amending exchange rates and save businesses valuable time. They also safeguard against errors when preparing sales quotes and streamline the sales workflow. With these time-savings,

No More Sticker Shock – Exchange rates are locked down when producing a client quote. WinAir says their process safeguards against the introduction of inaccurate information into the sales quote and ensures that there are no surprises when the client receives the invoice. It also relieves businesses from having to continue to adjust exchange rates based upon market fluctuations.

Operational Transparency, Flexibility, and Versatility – Part Sales allows users to ascertain the value of parts when listed in a client’s currency. With the pricing calculator, the system price is instantly and automatically displayed alongside the client price when these values are in different currencies says the company. This side-by-side view of pricing helps users tunderstand the financial worth of a particular part when listed in an unfamiliar client’s currency.

Instant Access to Historical Pricing Information – WinAir’s Part Sales provides users with instant access to all historical pricing information on parts and previous transactions. Historical pricing information also affords aviation operations and MROs the ability to track and manage pricing structures based on client relationships. These relationships may include offering discounted pricing that is significantly different from your standard rates, such as an AOG rate, a family rate, or a volume-based rate.

Ability to Define as Many Currencies as Required – WinAir says there is no limit to the number of currencies utilized in the system. Users can define as many currencies as required during the initial software set-up, and then add each currency as needed. They can also establish a default currency and designate currencies per country. When a new currency is added to the software, users can set the buy and sell rates for it against the system default currency to ensure that the proper price is applied for international purchases or invoicing. While users can change these rates at any time, any amendments will not affect sent POs or invoices.

Ease of Use – All processes, including calculations for markups, add-ons, and exchange rates, are automated. There is no need to access external programs to make calculations, review previous pricing information, or to manage exchange rates, as all of these tasks can be handled with ease in the software.

To further improve ease of use within the software, WinAir’s Part Sales uses system alerts and notifications to inform staff with quote approval authorization that a draft of a quote is ready for their review. During this built-in quote approval process, team members with the appropriate permissions can either approve the quote for submission to the client or decline it and append a mandatory comment to inform the quote draft author of the required revisions. In the case of the latter, the draft author will also receive a notification to inform them that there are underlying changes that must be made to this quote in order for it to be approved.   

Once it is updated, the quote can be resubmitted using the same quote approval process. This workflow keeps both the draft author and approver informed throughout the course of building, submitting, and approving the quote. It also ensures that each quote is always accurate before sending it to the client.

By providing a straightforward approach for managing variable currencies, WinAir’s Part Sales simplifies the entire process for generating quotes for part sales in a client currency. Instead of using numerous systems and tools to manage exchange rates, multiple currencies, and markups, Part Sales users can take care of all of these items efficiently and effectively in WinAir. This ability to manage all aspects of part sales in one aviation management software solution saves aviation operations and MROs significant time, alleviates staff of a variety of administrative duties, and improves the overall part sales workflow.

MRO iT

Tronair’s EBIS 5.0 Selected by dnata for Deployment Across US

Tronair announced that dnata, an air services providers, selected the company’s newly launched EBIS 5.0 software, the leader in ground support equipment (GSE) enterprise application solutions, for deployment across dnata’s U.S.operations. EBIS 5.0, which the company says delivers powerful new features and functionalities, will enable dnata to reduce costs and improve productivity across its GSE services and other business operations.

“We are excited to partner with Tronair and adopt EBIS 5.0,” said David Barker, CEO of dnata USA.“As we began to evaluate our GSE systems –particularly given the broader impacts of COVID-19 – it was critical to find an innovative solution that enables us to further improve efficiency and maximize investment returns. The EBIS 5.0 software is expected to help us optimize our operations and deliver more value for our customers.”

“Created by and for GSE professionals, the EBIS 5.0 cloud-based solution offers unparalleled insights for fleets of all sizes based on a proprietary 16-year database that significantly improves analytics, decisioning, benchmarking and sourcing. With an ROI of up to 17x, EBIS 5.0 enables customers to fully capture these cost savings and productivity benefits,” says Paul Schwarzbaum, Tronair CEO. “We are pleased that dnata USA has selected EBIS 5.0 and look forward to supporting their team as they enhance their GSE asset management capabilities.”

Tronair’s EBIS is an end-to-end SaaS solution developed specifically for the GSE industry to significantly improve asset deployment, maintenance and investment returns for global commercial airlines, ground handlers and service providers, and airline logistics companies. EBIS currently serves over 125,000 assets in 800 countries and across 9 million work orders. Available as of April 6, 2020, EBIS 5.0 includes powerful new features to maximize efficiency for customers, such as:

· Proven scalable technology infrastructure built on React JavaScript;

· Functionality on any device, including Android, for greater access and mobility;

· Robust, proprietary GSE database for improved parts sourcing and cost analysis/comparison shopping;

· Tech tips, component failure analytics and improved telemetry to enhance collaboration, analytics and real-time tracking;

· Video support for enhanced audiovisual communications;

· Multi-language capabilities to serve global customers; and

· A new, modern interface to improve usability.

MRO iT

ATP Acquires Flightdocs

ATP announced that they are acquiring Flightdocs creating of one of the largest providers of software solutions and information services in the aviation industry. With the Flightdocs acquisition, ATP says they will deliver powerful, cloud-based software solutions for aircraft maintenance tracking, troubleshooting, recurring defect analysis, inventory management, and flight scheduling – combined with a robust library of technical publications and regulatory content.

Founded in 2003, Flightdocs has grown to be the second largest provider of aircraft maintenance tracking and inventory management solutions in business aviation. ATP says Flightdocs’ long-standing reputation for revolutionary software and best-in-class support has made the solutions provider the number one choice for flight departments around the world. ATP, in business for 50 years, provides aircraft technical publications and regulatory information, connecting more than 45,000 maintenance professionals to the latest OEM content and airworthiness directives. The company’s software division is the leading provider of repetitive defect and troubleshooting applications, focused on reducing operating costs, improving reliability, and supporting technical knowledge sharing.

“We are very excited to join forces with the team at ATP,” noted Rick Heine, chairman and CEO of Flightdocs. “What began as a partnership quickly evolved into a much larger opportunity. By joining ATP, we will be able to create unique products and services that will have a significant impact for our customers, driving efficiencies, reliability, compliance, and safety across the industry.”

Customers of both ATP and Flightdocs will have access to a comprehensive suite of solutions to support the safe and reliable operation of their aircraft. Already considered by many in the industry to be an innovative and user-friendly maintenance tracking and inventory management software, the Flightdocs platform will now leverage the technical publication libraries, regulatory content, and chronic defect analysis and troubleshooting software offered by ATP. Combined, the two companies believe they will bring even more innovation and technical capabilities to the business aircraft maintenance tracking, inventory management, and flight operations software markets.

“Flightdocs’ commitment to innovation and service makes them an ideal addition to the ATP family,” says Rick Noble, CEO at ATP. “Working together, our goal will be to deliver the most advanced maintenance tracking, inventory management, and flight operations software on the market. One known for excellent support, a superior user experience, and powerful tools that can create massive benefits for our customers.”

With the addition of Flightdocs, ATP will now support 75,000 maintenance professionals across more than 7,500 customers in 137 countries. Further, the team plans to continue investment in the development of new products to serve the business aviation, general aviation, commercial aviation, military/defense, and OEM markets.

LOGIN or SUBSCRIBE

Enter you REGISTERED email

Aerospace Tech Review Magazine - Subscription Popup

Already a subscriber? Log in