MRO Drone and Ubisense are pairing up through the launch of a new Smart Hangar solution, which combines drone aircraft inspection with automated tool and asset management technology. The partnership aims to improve the efficiency and productivity of MROs through reliable staging of work packages, sensor-driven feedback and real-time visibility of tools and equipment.
“'Hangar of the future' is a big buzzword, but nobody’s really doing it,” says Gavin Goudie, director of MRO Drone. “Partnering with Ubisense both compliments and enhances our respective technologies and creates world class generation engineering capability for airlines and MRO.”
The Smart Hangar concept starts with Ubisense’s Dimension4 tracking system, which uses sensors placed around an aircraft hangar to track assets—including drones—providing real-time location information to control and monitor asset movements. According to Brad Williams, director of sales for aerospace and defense manufacturing at Ubisense, the Dimension4 system solves challenges with tools and equipment such as incorrect staging in work zones and time spent searching for items that were not returned to their approved storage locations as scheduled. The system can also prevent the fitting of incorrect parts or subassemblies, the use of out-of-calibration tools and the need for complex paper-based records.
For the full Smart Hangar experience, customers can choose to deploy MRO Drones’ RAPID aircraft inspection drones and Ubisense’s SmartSpace software platform, which manages real-time location and identification data. “RAPID drone speeds up and streamlines the inspection process while SmartSpace optimizes the repair readiness of the SmartHangar, reducing the time to get the plane back into service,” says Williams. “With SmartSpace monitoring the location of all assets and tools moving around in the hangar, it becomes possible to validate the movement and usage of those assets against plan and quality assurance criteria.” He adds that while SmartSpace, RAPID drones and Dimension4 are independent at a technology level, the products will jointly contribute to MROs gaining increased productivity and faster turnaround times.
“Location is a key enabler for new solutions coming to market in the MRO space and SmartSpace’s ability to work with other systems makes it the perfect software platform for many new technologies,” says Richard Petti, CEO of Ubisense. “SmartSpace enables OEMs and MROs to close a fundamental data-gap between their production systems and the real-world physical activities that drive their product and value creation through the creation of digital twins.”
According to Ubisense, SmartSpace and Dimension4 are already installed in many top automotive and fortune 500 manufacturers worldwide while RAPID drones have been successfully tested by airline operators and deployed to multiple MRO facilities across Europe. Williams says each of the technologies comprising Smart Hangar are well proven and the solution is available to customers for real-world deployment today.