Singapore--As part of Pratt & Whitney’s digital transformation and Connected Factory roadmap, four of its facilities in Singapore will be boosting their MRO capabilities with new artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to increase the productivity and precision of its engine maintenance. These facilities are Component Aerospace Singapore, Turbine Overhaul Services, Pratt & Whitney Component Solutions and Eagle Services Asia.
Pratt & Whitney Component Solutions in Singapore was the first of 15 facilities around the world to kick off the three-year program that started in June.
Pratt has tailored an automated inspection system for the facility that repairs compressor stators and turbine seals, and variable and fixed compressor vanes. The system will first separate the dimensional and visual inspection tasks, and automatically conduct dimensional tasks while freeing inspectors to focus on visual inspection. Pratt estimates an 80% increase in productivity with higher inspection quality. To date, 70% of vanes that are repairable have been programmed for the new system.
Component Aerospace Singapore will be pioneering Pratt’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in the region, aimed to eliminate the manual input of service orders and other administrative tasks, and at the same time producing large amounts of data for future analysis to identify how processes can be further enhanced to reduce waste and delays while increasing efficiency and quality.
The plant--which repairs combustion chambers, fuel nozzle injectors and guides, tubes, ducts and manifolds--will also get an AI robotic visual-aided system for its automated chamber disassembly and assembly system. The automated system is able to detect dimensions and cracks, as well as auto routing and blending to reduce reliance on welders.
Meanwhile, Turbine Overhaul Services will be introducing Piece Part Inspection (PPI) technology, powered by AI. Pratt said that there has been an 8% increase in the repeatability and accuracy of results by inspectors on the engines. The facility has also enhanced its laser cladding technology, which reduced turnaround times for airfoils on PW2000, PW4000 and V2500 engines by 10 days.
According to said Brendon McWilliam, Pratt & Whitney senior director, aftermarket operations for Asia-Pacific, the Connected Factory is intended to enhance product quality, improve order fulfillment time up to 30%, reduce machine idle time up to 30% and reduce energy consumption by up to 10%.
“Against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving aviation industry, Pratt & Whitney is always searching for new and better ways to meet today’s demands and anticipate tomorrow’s customer needs,” McWilliam says. "Our investments in advanced technology enables opportunities for our people to move into value-added tasks, and puts us in a stronger position to meet the fast-growing service demands across our commercial engines portfolio.”
He added that while there is no collaborations with local research agencies, the company is always in discussions with organizations regarding collaboration opportunities.