Aircraft Maintenance to Be Transformed Through Digitisation

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Opportunities for further researched have been opened up by a project to develop an innovative aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) system at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Advanced Aerospace Assembly (A3L) worked with the AMRC through a consortium of SMEs on the Aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Configuration Capture System (AMROCCS) to transform the way aerospace companies maintain fleets of aircraft. Together, they developed a system to provide significant time and cost savings alongside more effective control and management of MRO processes.

AMROCCS is a paperless maintenance system that gets real-time data to engineers undertaking MRO. It uses automated 3D and scanning data capture using wearable and handheld technologies to deliver diagnostics and customisable digital workflow instructions bespoke to each task. The results are then recorded and the audit trail is updated for access either on, or off, aircraft.

Moreover, the system also integrates visual scanning technologies that can capture physical changes in an aircraft and when the data is applied to a digital model of the aircraft, the workflow instructions for repair are generated.

The three year research project involved a full-scale industrial demonstrator being created on the shop floor of the AMRC’s Factory 2050 and played a key role in speeding up development times and bringing the product to market quicker.

The consortium is now exploring four strands of work to take the system forward and turn it into a commercial success. The first step is to scout for potential end-users within aerospace for the digital workflow platform. The project has also opened up opportunities for future research and development collaborations to investigate additional capabilities and testing the implementation of integrated technologies.

The fourth strand will be looking into selling proof of concept programmes that can deliver immediate benefits and operational efficiencies to potential end-users.

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