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The high cost of scattered technical information

Calendar March 27, 2018 | User Charles S. Cunningham

The high cost of scattered technical information

What does an airframe manufacturer, a high-tech tooling company, and a maker of large earth-moving machines all have in common?  Each independently realized that having technical information dispersed across multiple maintenance platforms is the surest way to rob maintenance engineers of 30-40% of their optimum productivity.

All three of these companies build and service products that cost millions (or even hundreds of millions) of dollars.  Their products are large, complex, and must operate with almost perfect efficiency during their long lifespan in order to fully recoup their high cost of acquisition.  For that reason, they are maintenance-intensive, and operators must adhere closely to the OEM’s prescribed preventive maintenance recommendations in order to ensure safe operation and positive ROI.

The problem is that for machines this complex and long-lived, there often isn’t a single source for OEM documentation to guide all maintenance activity.  Modifications / de-modifications made to the asset over its long life and the multi-OEM nature of this complex equipment mean that there are often several sources.  Scouring multiple sources often consisting of a mix of paper and digital systems for information on the machine being serviced takes precious minutes or even hours from time spent getting the job done.

OEMs often don’t help matters much.  They tend to provide maintenance solutions aimed at delivering information only for their products, leading to a proliferation of viewer tools at mixed fleet operator maintenance sites.  Many OEMs and PLMs are working to create vendor-neutral content exchanges for predictive and prognostic maintenance. But, unfortunately manufacturers are often reluctant to see their intellectual property brought into a competitor’s sphere, even with assurances of data access protection.

So, what’s the answer to this productivity problem?  In short, vendor-neutral IETPs like CORENA Pinpoint and CORENA Pinpoint Mobile that are capable of handling multi-vendor ATA 2200 and S1000D publications and doc types for airframes, engines, and components.  In use by some of the world’s most successful airlines, CORENA Pinpoint provides single system access to all of the aircraft maintenance documentation needed by maintenance engineers to do their job.  And, with mobile versions of this IETM software available for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets, it further addresses this critical productivity problem by putting that single source of information at the maintenance engineer’s fingertips wherever and whenever work is being performed.

Of course, single source mobile access isn’t the end of the road for technology-driven maintenance productivity improvements.  Next on the horizon will be changing the nature of the tech pubs themselves to incorporate emerging technologies like augmented reality and telepresence.  These and other innovations to come will be vital tools for helping the upcoming generation of “digital natives” immerse themselves in the complicated aviation maintenance domain.  For this growing segment of the workforce raised on hyper-realistic video games and conditioned from birth to real-time social media interaction, traditional tech pubs – even when made more interactive and dynamic through digitization – represent a barrier to meaningful engagement that will need to be overcome to harness their full potential.

We are privileged to live and work in exciting times for aviation. Times in which fundamental changes in the technological fabric of our society brings the potential for transformative levels of efficiency and service.

 

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