One of the major elements of moving toward a digital, rather than paper, maintenance environment is working with and using digital maintenance instructions. Rusada, whose Envision software supports about 2,000 aircraft at 100 customers including HAECO and Heston MRO, enables end-to-end use of digital maintenance instructions, as explained by Ian Kent, Rusada's product manager.
The process starts off with managing OEM digital data, which can be aircraft maintenance manuals, maintenance planning documents, component maintenance manuals or illustrated part catalogues, received in SGML or XML formats. For this job, Envision uses its maintenance revision module.
The module first imports the data file from the OEM. Because different OEMs use different file formats with different routines, the user must select the OEM for each import. The module then creates a draft revision and task cards. If the import has been successful, the user will see the digital task cards.
The next step is editing and customizing these digital task cards so the MRO or maintenance department will be able to use electronic documents.
The user first selects a digitized task card and accesses detailed information on the card. Envision can automatically extract material requirements, and the user can manually add other data, such as expected man-hours to perform the task and the types of sign-off--mechanic or inspector--required for each selected sub-task. The user can specify the skills required for each mechanic to be eligible to sign off on each subtask.
The user can also add feedback fields to each subtask for data to be captured during performance of the subtask. Feedback may be text or numeric data, for example a measurement to be taken of a part or the serial number of a tool used. And minimum and maximum values for numeric values or the accuracy required may also be specified. The user may make completion of these feedback fields mandatory before sign-off.
Finally, customization enables attachments to the task cards, such as forms or service bulletins.
The user saves the changes in the digital task card and routes it for approval. Envision will automatically alert other staff who are authorized to approve the digital card. Once approval is given, the original OEM task card is made inactive, and the new, edited version is made active. “Task cards can also be created from scratch from a template,” Kent notes.
The next step is importing digital task cards into digital work orders and executing them. The user builds work orders by adding required tasks imported from a work scope all of the tasks that are grouped together. The user may import tasks from an Excel spreadsheet supplied by another company, or from his own digital task cards.
The user then assigns work orders to specific mechanics, or mechanics log in and pick the work orders they will perform. In all cases, Envision will check to ensure both mechanic and the inspector have the skills necessary to sign off on the order. They cannot sign off until the required feedback is provided and fits within the correct range of values.
Users or mechanics can also add remarks to the work order, and an inspector can cancel a mechanic’s sign off if he is not satisfied with the work and wants it done again. In addition, Envision will record the time the mechanic logs in and the time at which the job is finished and correctly signed off on.
Kent says all major airframe OEMs now supply maintenance documents in the digital formats necessary to initiate Envision’s digital processes. “The newer the aircraft the higher the chance it will be digital.”
Handling maintenance documents digitally makes for quicker, more accurate and efficient MRO. Just as important, perhaps, is the fact that all data, including feedback data, is now in a database, suitable for analysis for many purposes.