IBM, Enigma to automate aviation maintenance, repair

IBM, Enigma to automate aviation maintenance, repair

IBM has unveiled software for the aviation industry designed to improve fleet maintenance operations, while reducing operational costs.

The Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) system helps automate processes and deliver critical repair information to front-line maintenance technicians who need it to quickly repair aircraft, according to Raul Arce, vice president IBM Travel and Transportation.

The IBM Technical Document Management and Delivery Solution brings together software from the IBM Content Management portfolio and a content delivery system from Enigma Inc. to deliver an integrated system in an open services-oriented architecture (SOA), he said.

The Enigma 3C platform provides an integrated aircraft encyclopedia that allows maintenance technicians to see all of the latest service manuals, parts catalogs and troubleshooting guides customized for each specific aircraft. "...More importantly, it's flexible enough to say if you have an SAP or an Oracle or a Maximo component that you're happy with and want to continue to use that's not a problem -- we will build and integrate our system around that," Arce said. "We can help our clients improve their maintenance operations while at the same time reducing their operational costs...."

It's slow and costly to author and revise technical publications, often requiring paper-based editing and reviewing, according to the statement. As a result, maintenance information is often outdated or incomplete. The new system provides access to data across multiple information systems so that engineers can easily update and distribute technical publications, and technicians can efficiently perform maintenance and repairs, IBM said.

"Aircraft manufacturers and engine manufacturers constantly update their technical manuals, so you may have a new procedure for maintaining a particular component and a lot of airlines don't have online documentation and they don't make that available to their mechanics electronically," Arce said. "The manuals and documentation are in one place and [the] aircraft is in a completely different place, so the mechanics may have to go back to the hangar to look at the manual, then go back to the aircraft with the proper part. That means the ... mechanics don't have the ability to get the information they need in real time."

Arce said with the new system can import technical documentation from an aircraft manufacturer or engine manufacturer electronically and store the text and graphics digitally. That information can then be sent wirelessly to a handheld device.

"So the mechanic can actually be there with a handheld device and be physically looking at that part on the engine and then electronically order the right part and the inventory group will send that part to the hangar," he said. "This new solution accelerates the work of maintenance and engineering departments by ensuring the most accurate service information is at their fingertips with visibility into crucial inventory, supply chain and scheduling systems."

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