formance for inclusion in the digital thread
and performance analyses.
and Advanced Guidance
Related developments in augmented reality are also bringing greater precision and efficiency to inspection and repair work in MRO hangars. Augmented and virtual reality tools—systems that
layer digital 3D images and virtual schematics
over real-world images or devices—are also
helping to bridge the gap in skilled technicians
through advanced training and guidance systems. By some estimates, global growth in air
travel will create a need for nearly 700,000 new
maintenance technicians over the next 20 years.
Any technology that streamlines the work of
MRO specialists, or helps train new and existing workers, will help manufacturers and airlines keep up with demand. Furthermore, these
systems can ease collaboration between remote
workers, an increasingly essential capability in
global supply chains.
Wearable devices such as smart glasses,
supplemented by AR software and natural language interfaces, are already in use in
production and repair processes. As they are
integrated with automated inspection methods (UAVs, sensor data) and digital models, they evolve into a key interface between
human operators and the cyber-physical
systems underpinning the MBE. Service
information can be consumed visually and
contextually in real time, eliminating the
confusion caused by disparate systems and
As natural language capabilities mature,
voice-driven interaction with smart glasses
and tablets will create a hands-free interface
and the ability to “chat” with the device in a
more natural manner. These advanced guid-
ance systems have the potential to reduce er-
rors, lower labor costs, and significantly im-
prove MRO metrics including Mean Time
to Repair (MT TR), First Time Fix Rate, and
Aircraft-On-Ground (AOG) time.
One of the major challenges faced by MRO shops is spare parts man- agement. Without efficient access
to needed parts, unscheduled groundings
quickly add up to significant losses. Yet, predicting when and where a part will be needed, or maintaining a complete inventory of
parts, is impractical and expensive.
Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D
printing, is already revolutionizing prototyping and production in many industries,
from consumer goods to medical devices. In
fact, Boeing reports that 50,000 3D printed
parts are already flying on their products.
In the MRO enterprise, AM has the potential to transform spare parts practices. Manufacturers of spare parts and MRO hubs will
store the digital data necessary to print parts
and components in CAD software instead
of storing physical parts on shelves, with
obvious benefits to storage and distribution
costs, inventory turnover, MTTR, and fleet
uptime. 3D printing can also be an efficient
solution to procuring hard-to-find or discontinued spare parts.
The global market for aerospace AM is projected to grow at a CAGR of 56% until 2020;
3D printing for the early-adopting A&D sector already accounts for 12% of total global
AM revenue. As advanced AM production
techniques continue to emerge, the impacts on
aircraft supply chains and MRO shops could
be transformative. The reliability of 3D printing technology is sure to benefit from the strict
safety and quality requirements for aircraft
components, once again resulting in benefits
to industries beyond A&D.
................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ...................
to bridge the
gap in skilled