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Digest
March 2016

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A transnational, transfunctional Airbus team has developed a new method of repairing fibre optic cables, which are used extensively across the company’s aircraft, integrated in taxi aid cameras, head-up displays, inflight entertainment systems, cockpit systems and other key components. However, if non-conformities were discovered in a cable during its installation, the entire cable and surrounding harnesses needed to be removed so that the repair could be performed in a shop outside of the aircraft. This took 10 hours to do and in removing the harness, other cables and wiring could be damaged. One of the more common non-conformities concerns the contacts at the two ends of a cable. If the contacts were deficient, they had to be cleaned and polished or remanufactured at the shop floor laboratory. Working with supplier AVOptic, new battery-powered portable tools were developed that re-polish the contacts on board the aircraft, meaning repairs are made without disturbing the other installers. Repair time is cut from 10 hours to just two. 

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AAR has expanded and updated its hydraulic repair and overhaul facility at AAR Aircraft Component Services – Amsterdam in response to rising demand. The renovation of the facility entailed a significant investment in testing equipment, a reconfiguration of the space, and the hiring of additional personnel. Together, these updates more than double the capacity of the previous facility to handle work on a longer list of parts and systems, such as hydraulic pumps; flap, thrust-reverser and landing-gear actuators; and flow control and shutoff valves for various aircraft from Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier and others.

 

Two new test stands, developed by ACS – Amsterdam, are equipped with the latest advances in automation, complete with control software. The gearbox test stand is designed to meet aircraft flow and pressure test requirements for all Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, CRJ and other airframes working on Skydrol fluid at 3,000 or 5,000 PSI, including new-generation aircraft. The facility’s existing universal bench has integrated higher levels of automation, eliminating the transition time required for a worker to activate settings manually. Measurements are taken and fed into an HTML report. A new logistics area and a central warehouse increase capacity and reduce turnaround times, even in periods of peak volume, ensuring components are returned to service as swiftly as possible.

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AFI KLM E&M has announced that its new innovation centre, The MRO Lab Singapore, is now on stream. The opening of the new entity comes a year after the launch of the ‘MRO Lab - Adaptive Innovations’ programme, through which AFI KLM E&M is pursuing its aim of developing an extensive, high-performance R&D network to support its business and MRO services. The R&D centre has been set up in conjunction with Ramco Systems and supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). Staffed by locally-recruited experts, The MRO Lab Singapore’s research activity focuses on strategic areas of the MRO sector, ranging from technician mobility to customer experience, and from an internet of things, Big Data applications and predictive maintenance, to artificial intelligence.

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AFI KLM E&M is to develop a certified cockpit mount installation for Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) tablet equipment for Emirates. It will engineer the cockpit integration of the EFB tablet specified by Emirates, including installation design, ergonomics, and certification of the mounts and cradle system. The retrofit solution will be available to support the Airline’s fleets of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s for a current total of over 200 aircraft.

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Air New Zealand has announced that it has entered into a partnership with ATR to equip its 68-seat turboprop fleet with advanced Required Navigation Performance (RNP AR) technology. RNP AR enables specially trained pilots to fly to lower altitudes with a more precise and efficient route into the airport, saving fuel and emissions and helping reduce the impact of bad weather on services.

 

The airline announced late last year that it would purchase 15 new ATR 72-600 aircraft to operate its regional services; four to allow for further growth on regional routes and 11 to replace its ATR 72-500 fleet, bringing its ATR fleet to 29 aircraft. Today’s announcement is a commitment by Air New Zealand to invest more than $25 million in RNP capability for the fleet.

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Air New Zealand is successfully producing 3D printed components for its Business Premier cabins. The airline has been working with Auckland University of Technology to use 3D printing, also known as additive layer manufacturing technology, to manufacture the fold down cocktail trays that form part of its award winning Business Premier seat. Air New Zealand hopes to start installing the 3D printed cocktail trays on aircraft in the coming weeks, pending final regulatory approval.

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Air Niugini has selected the Sophia Business Class seat model for a Fokker 70/100 retrofit programme.

 

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Airbus and China’s Institute of Metal Research (IMR), under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), have signed a cooperation agreement to extend research and technology (R&T) as part of Airbus’ R&T cooperation programme with China. The first two projects chosen in this latest cooperation are focussing on materials and coatings. Airbus and IMR will explore ways to improve the process of producing powders and wire for additive layer manufacturing with lower costs and shorter lead time, while achieving aeronautical quality. The research is significant as additive manufacturing processes are increasingly being adopted worldwide.

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Airbus’ Emerging Technologies & Concepts group in Bangalore, India has developed a new turnaround time and operations optimizer (TAT Optimizer) software solution that allows airlines to perform real-time monitoring of on-ground aircraft activities. The data related to these activities is transmitted by the aircraft in real-time to a cloud platform which is processed and can subsequently be presented on users’ portable devices. The TAT Optimizer gives a real-time overview of each and every intervention needed for an efficient turnaround. Priority information such as the aircraft and schedule information along with alert messages are provided. Planned turn-around activities are presented in a Gantt chart denoting the scheduled arrival and departure. Future enhancements will include connecting aircraft and an onboard integration of TAT Optimizer with the Electronic Flight Bag, cabin logbook and Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS).

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Airbus has expanded its Flight-Hour-Services (FHS) offering by introducing a new service: Component-On-Demand (COD). This covers used parts on Airbus A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 aircraft. COD is an ad-hoc service which proposes sale, standard exchange, loan and repair services for line replaceable units (LRU) from Airbus’ extensive stocks. Moreover, it provides operators with access to over 1,000 part numbers in London, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; fully compliant components which are guaranteed ‘PMA-free’ and ‘DER-free’; and repair services which benefit from Airbus’ experience in selecting the best-in-class repair stations.

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