Companies in the aviation industry operate in a competitive environment, which leads to high time and cost pressure. In addition, there are many prescribed legal framework conditions and documentation requirements that make it difficult to design processes efficiently. This demanding environment also includes the MRO processes for aircraft engines at the LTAA site.
A major challenge in optimizing maintenance processes is the continuous and error-free traceability of engine components. Related processes, such as the identification and documentation of serial numbers, are currently designed to be manual and with limited additional support for employees, resulting in high time costs and increased susceptibility to errors. Due to the large number of parallel processes with large inventories (work in progress), another challenge is to allocate and provide all components to the respective engine at the right time. In defined storage areas, this results in long search times for individual engine parts.
The goal of the joint project is to develop solutions for making operational processes in the maintenance and repair of engine components in aviation more efficient. The approach is to integrate existing digital technologies for localization and identification as well as optical technologies for automatic recognition of text information and additional systems for worker assistance into the existing process. With the aid of a traceability system, search times are to be systematically reduced and end-to-end transparency is to be established throughout the entire maintenance process. Assistance solutions are integrated selectively based on identified levers in the process in order to support employees in the execution of their tasks. Tasks of incoming and outgoing inspection as well as process documentation are examined as starting points in this context. At the end of the project, the overall system developed during the project will provide the foundation for more efficient management of engine maintenance processes based on the established database and digital worker assistance.
The concepts developed will be implemented on site at the consortium leader Lufthansa Technik Aero Alzey. The project is divided into five phases. The analysis and development results gained in the individual subprojects (phases 1 and 2) are consolidated into an overall concept in phase 3. Subsequently, in Phase 4, the selected technologies will be implemented at Lufthansa Technik's site before the systems are validated and adapted to requirements in Phase 5 on the basis of this implementation. Economic criteria will also be used in the validation process to examine the applicability of the solution to other maintenance processes in the aviation industry. PTW primarily contributes expertise in the analysis of relevant reference processes and the formulation of concepts in the two subject areas of worker assistance and traceability, while 3D.aero implements support systems with competencies in the area of process automation and the targeted use of AI technologies.
This project is funded by the German Federal Ministery of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). We would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to work on this project.