The Use Case of FFT deals with the maintenance of manufacturing equipment within the aviation sector. FFT’s Hoisting Equipment comprises Fittings to be mounted at aircraft components for assembly or transportation, as well as Lifting Gears that will be applied to lift and/or move aircraft components (such as engines, wings, vertical tails etc.) during the assembly of an airframe.
As these tools, jigs and fixtures are important resources of the manufacturing / assembly processes, a high availability is expected. Shortages or low quality can hamper the production process significantly.
The customer expects from FFT processes to become better and more efficient over the time. Hence the planning of maintenance activities should become more transparent based on knowledge about the quantities to be expected for maintenance and the condition of the incoming fittings and lifting gears with the aim to reduce maintenance costs while keeping the number of fittings and lift gears as low as possible.
Interview with UPTIME project partner from FFT Produktionssyteme GmbH & Co. KG, Jeroen Versteeg, Senior Project Manager of FFT Aviation Systems & Test Operations Division based in Bremen. He shared his views with us on the benefits of predictive maintenance in large transportation asset operations.
FFT’s division Systems & Test Operations has a growing number of maintenance projects, currently particularly in the aerospace industry, which in part involve larger numbers of highly complex assets, some of which are mobile and subjected to diverse environments and a wide range of unpredictable environmental stress factors. Due to the critical nature of the deployment of these assets, the requirements are both technically and organisationally very high. The need has arisen to increase efficiency in maintenance execution as well as in reporting to the client, who in most of our projects is responsible for the logistics coordination of their assets.
Until recently, maintenance has been performed relatively conventionally, although improvements in the area of automated asset and activity tracking have been implemented. Thus, it is FFT’s expectation that UPTIME can provide the framework to implement highly automated workflows to achieve an increase in efficiency.
The improvements promised by UPTIME are expected to bring benefits to our maintenance service performance. This will affect all major processes: planning, execution, reporting, evaluation, improvement. This will be achievable because all information necessary for these processes will not only be acquired using various (mostly automatic) means, but also made accessible to the process stakeholders on-demand and in the form they can most effectively process.
A logistics planner, for example, would have access to an overview indicating location and availability status (e.g. “under maintenance, expected to be ready in three hours”) of an asset, while our maintenance operations manager could see a summary of anomalies in environmental stress for an asset necessitating ordering of certain spare parts in advance, which could dramatically decrease the down time of the asset. Also, the availability of historical data and effective evaluation and representation methods for this data is expected to show trends or areas of interest which can be used for continuous improvement of both maintenance of the assets and technical optimisation of the assets themselves.
In summary, UPTIME is expected to enable our maintenance service to focus more on the primary maintenance processes by automating secondary processes such as data acquisition, processing and reporting, while continuously providing relevant data to improve all processes.