MRO Americas

A ‘Big Data’ Revolution For MRO? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Aftermarket-focused analytics are generating real-world returns, but an MRO “big data revolution” remains far off as operators tread carefully in search of tangible and scalable benefits, Oliver Wyman’s 2016 MRO Survey said.

Aftermarket-focused analytics are generating real-world returns, but an MRO “big data revolution” remains far off as operators tread carefully in search of tangible and scalable benefits, Oliver Wyman’s 2016 MRO Survey said.

 

Airlines‭, ‬aided by aircraft such as the Boeing 787‭ ‬and Airbus A350‭ ‬and increasingly sophisticated OEM programs‭, ‬are embracing data-driven aircraft health measurement‭ (‬AHM‭) ‬and predictive maintenance‭ (‬PM‭), ‬the survey found‭. ‬However‭, ‬“sophistication at the user level remains nascent‭,‬”‭ ‬Oliver Wyman noted‭.‬

The survey found that 56%‭ ‬of operators use AHM for some or all of their aircraft‭, ‬while 44%‭ ‬use PM‭. ‬Not surprisingly‭, ‬engine maintenance‭, ‬the largest slice of the MRO revenue pie at 36%‮—‬Aviation Week’s Commercial Fleet‭ ‬&‭ ‬MRO Forecast shows‮—‬is the most sophisticated arena‭. ‬Nearly 90%‭ ‬of respondents said they apply AHM‮—‬primarily‭ ‬condition monitoring‮—‬to their motors‭, ‬while 42%‭ ‬leverage PM‭.‬

But while use of data-driven MRO programs may be broadening‭, ‬it remains shallow at the organizational level‭. ‬“Fifty-nine percent of airline respondents plan to restrict AHM use to small subsets of data‭, ‬either directly or through a third‭ ‬party‭, ‬rather than pursuing a broad or comprehensive approach‭,‬”‭ ‬the survey found‭. ‬“For those using PM‭, ‬83%‭ ‬focus on narrow subsets‭, ‬while only one in five expects to apply predictive techniques to all available‭ ‬data‭.‬”

Part of the problem is that there are too many numbers‭. ‬Newer aircraft‭ ‬“capture reams of data not available from previous-generation aircraft‭, ‬creating new storage‭, ‬organization and application challenges‭,‬”‭ ‬Oliver Wyman noted‭. ‬“As a result‭, ‬many operators report modest big data programs‭, ‬reflecting limited readiness for these new challenges‭.‬”

[CHARTBEAT:3]

While early adopters are proceeding with caution‭, ‬they are helping create a fragmented market for services‭.

AHM is being dominated by OEMs‭, ‬particularly on the engine side‭. ‬GE’s recent migration to Predix‭, ‬an internally developed software platform‭, ‬has jump-started its ability to crunch fleet data and extract meaningful takeaways‭. ‬On the airframe side‭, ‬both Boeing and Airbus are slowly growing their health-monitoring and data analytics customers‮—‬in part bolstered by new‭, ‬capable aircraft‭. ‬An A320‭ ‬generates information from about 20,000‭ ‬data sources‭, ‬Airbus said‭, ‬compared to 200,000‭ ‬for an A380‭ ‬and more than 400,000‭ ‬for an A350‭.‬

PM is seeing more diverse options‭, ‬with some choosing customized systems or‭ ‬“bespoke offerings”‭ ‬from outside aviation‭.‬

While OEMs are clearly out front‭, ‬Oliver Wyman suggested‭  ‬their‭ ‬“narrow focus”‭ ‬means the head-start is not likely to last‭.‬

“As with the traditional parts-and-service aftermarket‭, [‬OEMs’‭] ‬interest is unlikely to extend beyond their own equipment‭,‬”‭ ‬the consultancy added‭.‬

 

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