Airbus has approached predictive maintenance from two approaches but plans to converge them in 2018.
The first, its aircraft-centric method, is a digital program called Prognostics and Risk-Management (PRM) that Delta Airlines became launch customer for in 2016 following a year-long collaboration with Airbus. This Web-based application combines calculations based on a tailored aircraft condition monitoring system report loaded in an aircraft, parameters collected inflight and sent to the ground via ACARS, and algorithms to detect aircraft system degradations, says Vincent Swiderski, digital business development, Airbus Services, speaking at Aviation Week Network’s ap&m Summit.
By using PRM for three sets of parts, Airbus has saved operators $550,000 over 12 months from monitoring just a few parts on 40 Airbus A330s.
They included 27 valves in ATA Chapter 36, two crew oxygen systems in ATA Chapter 35 and one heat exchanger in ATA Chapter 21. Bench tests confirmed all of the removed parts using PRM were due to fail, says Swiderski. “This savings is just the tip of the iceberg” because just three ATA chapter parts group were followed, he adds.
Airbus’ other predictive maintenance approach, a data-centric one with which it is partnering with easyJet, takes data from various sources, stores it in an Airbus cloud then applies algorithms based on end user experience and engagement. Airbus has predicted maintenance events with this approach and says it’s a “powerful way to contextualize information,” but stresses end user feedback is key to define and validate the right alerts.
For the rest of the year, Airbus will continue prototyping and validating both the aircraft- and data-centric approaches until converging the systems in the first quarter 2018. Swiderski says Airbus targets a 5-10% maintenance cost reduction through the combined system.