Rolls-Royce unveiled its new engine services aircraft availability center in Derby, where it will plan engine operations and maintenance management through utilizing a broader set of data analytics.
Described as “the next step” of Rolls-Royce’s engine monitoring service by Tom Palmer, the OEM’s senior vice president of services, civil aerospace, the center boosts both the scope and scale of data used on existing engine health monitoring services provided by the British engine manufacturer.
“The big change is moving from a service primarily set up around predicting when an engine will require removal for major overhaul, scheduling that removal at a convenient time, repairing the engine and providing a spare in its place, to services much more focused on the outcomes airline customers want to help competitiveness,” Palmer said at a media briefing on June 5.
Palmer said the expanded services focus on aircraft availability, efficiency and the value of the asset during the transition phase, with the scenario partly enabled by easier routes of data sharing between airlines, airframe manufacturers and engine makers such as Rolls-Royce.
“We’ve been predicting when engines require overhauls for a long time, but there is a need to go further than that and factor in whether the aircraft takes off on time, burns fuel as efficiently as possible and ensure a required part is waiting for the aircraft when it reaches its location,” he said.
In order to achieve this requires a much broader set of data, Palmer said, with engine data scales on sensor-heavy engine types such as the Trent XWB increasing from kilobytes of data transmitted per flight to terabytes.
Along with the data surge, the expanded capabilities also represents a much bigger operational challenge for Rolls-Royce, taking into account considerations such as “integrating what the engine does with the aircraft maintenance schedule while also understanding factors such weather patterns and the airline’s overall operational performance,” he added.
The delivery center host a new wave of both physical and digital technologies. These include a visualisation tool, which allows engineers based in Derby to see what mechanics out in the field can view in real-time to aid decisions and responsiveness.
Another innovation is the deployment of remote surgery techniques to allow experts at the center to carry out line maintenance tasks via remote control on a Rolls-Royce engine situated in any part of the world.
The delivery center compliments existing physical and digital infrastructure, comprised of five global customer service centers, a revised service network that has undergone organizational changes in the past two years, and the Derby headquarters which has oversight of all global activities.
While stating that the broader service would contribute to future aftermarket revenue growth, Rolls-Royce stated no targets were available at the present time.