Embraer plans to announce on June 19 its Big Data analytics platform IKON that was borne out of the need to more efficiently use the data generated by its latest aircraft, the E-Jet E2 family. While Embraer has offered predictive maintenance through its AHEAD-PRO analytics tool for several years, each E2 jet will generate about 100GB per aircraft per year, compared to 5MB per per year for the E1, so the existing system couldn’t ingest, analyze and store that much data efficiently, says Johann Bordais, Embraer president and CEO of Embraer Services & Support.
“We needed the right tool, the right platform, to analyze all this data,” he says.
Embraer launched the first E2 with the ambitious goal of achieving 99.0% scheduled reliability in its first year of operation. It achieved reliability of 98.94%, partly due to the IKON platform.
IKON, which in Greek means to analyze a reality through images, is based on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. It was developed by Claranet, which is backed by AWS Professional Services.
While Embraer is officially launching the platform at the Paris Air Show, it went live on April 24, 2018—the day of the first E2 revenue flight (by a Widerøe E190-E2) says Bordais. Since then, it has been using the system regularly to prove concepts.
He says the cloud-based system makes storing and analyzing data less expensive and faster because the data can be delivered decoded, based on established algorithms, so engineers and data-reliability specialists can assess performance more efficiently.
As an example, Bordais says that new system recently delivered a 96% productivity gain in aircraft fault analysis. An E2 central maintenance computer reported a fuel imbalance message—the first instance in the fleet. With IKON, Bordais says Embraer was able to analyze the fleet’s 3,000 flights in four hours to discern that this had actually happened twice, each time while descending and at a specific altitude, which was within performance specifications. Before IKON, Bordais says that due to bandwidth limitations, Embraer would only have been able to analyze 20% of data, or from about 600 flights, and the process would have taken seven days.
So far, all E2 operators have chosen the optional wireless server unit (WSU), which is the module that transfers aircraft data wirelessly after landing to the Embraer Ground Server that connects to IKON, where engineers can analyze the information in the data lake. Bordais says transferring large amounts of data inflight is still too expensive and the WSU delivers “what we need.”
While Embraer initially focused the predictive maintenance system on E2 aircraft, with AWS realized the system could be agnostic of the OEM or aircraft model for service and support. Bordais says the platform’s flexibility will allow it to be used for other analytical function, as well—from inventory management to financial analysis—although Embraer hasn’t targeted other applications yet. Its focus to date has been limited to E2 operators.
AWS provides the whole cloud infrastructure—including security, processing power and analytics tools—on a pay-per-use basis. In parallel, Bordais says the IKON services package is now part of its portfolio of offerings, with charges incurred per aircraft.
Embraer received simultaneous Brazilian ANAC, European EASA and U.S. FAA certification for its E190-E2 in February 2018 and for the E195-E2 in April 2019.