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The MRO technology boom

An influx of new technologies are set to fundamentally change the way the aircraft maintenance industry conducts its activities by 2020, according to aviation consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.

An influx of new technologies are set to fundamentally change the way the aircraft maintenance industry conducts its activities by 2020, according to aviation consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.

In its annual 2015 MRO Survey, unveiled at the MRO Americas conference in Miami on Monday (April 13), Oliver Wyman outlined which technologies could shape and alter the MRO landscape five years from now. And in the study comprised of industry respondents, big data was singled out as having potential to become especially influential.

The prediction of MRO’s focusing on big data was credited to the rise of MROs planning to invest in new systems up to 2020.

These include aircraft health monitoring, which 52 per cent said they either had or planned to invest in, and predictive maintenance systems (49 per cent). Oliver Wyman also predicts big financial benefits as a result of such technological adoption.

“This could amount to a redistribution of up to 20 per cent of value among current industry players, or $10bn to $15bn, and entice new, non-traditional competitors to enter the MRO space to siphon off high value revenue opportunities,” says Chris Spafford, partner and co-author of the 2015 MRO Survey.

But while the financial numbers look very promising for the industry’s future, Spafford also describes MROs as “reluctant innovators” and said this mentality needs to be overcome in order for firms to succeed.

Surprisingly low on MROs technological priorities is the utilisation of additive manufacturing, due to high costs and a lack of customer acceptance, something Spafford said could be reversed.

The results painted a mixed picture. 34 per cent of firms questioned said internal discussions and assessments had taken place regarding additive manufacturing, while an equal percentage said no conversations had taken place.

Other reasons cited as inhibitors for implementing new technologies include a lack of budget or capital availability (50 per cent), inability to prove the financial viability of a new product (44 per cent) and the total cost or lack of a clear return on investment (44 per cent).

The Oliver Wyman 2015 MRO Survey can be viewed in full at its website (PDF).

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