Location, location, location are the keys to real estate. For maintenance, the equivalent aim is reliability, reliability, reliability. But seeking better reliability is different according to type of component.
For example, landing gear are the mechanical components that, next to engines, take the hardest pounding. And Safran Landing Systems provides all components for braking, steering, maintaining tire pressure and brake temperature as well as monitoring oil pressure, along with the landing gear extension and retraction systems. On the Airbus A380, Safran also provides components for hydraulic fluid filtration.
Services development director Jean-Luc Etcheverry says improvements in mean times between unscheduled removals (MTBURs) for these components is achieved over years through collaboration by many operators, Safran and airframe OEMs. “Good practice and improvement follow-up are shared through in-service experience documents with all worldwide operators,” Etcheverry says. Tight cooperation allows Safran to improve reliability with upgrades of components or preventive maintenance on them. “Improvement thus results from better daily monitoring and new designs tailored to the improvement need.”
All this counts heavily in airline performance because problems with landing gear will interrupt service on any aircraft.
Avionics are much different from mechanical components. They are generally not removed at any scheduled intervals, so the aim is solely to reduce MTBUR. Joe Gallo, director of marketing for Air Transport Systems at Rockwell Collins, says all his components are currently exceeding their reliability standards, “most notably the display systems we build for Boeing.”
Rockwell measures MTBUR as a 12-month moving average. Gallo say the OEM has seen MTBUR on its mature avionics components at up to five times longer than was originally predicted. That means MTBUR of 100,000 hours or greater.
Getting those avionics MTBURs up is not a matter of collaboration, it’s all on Rockwell. Gallo credits the durability of his equipment to the maturity of Rockwell displays and “superior design standards.” In any case, the gains to airlines are fewer surprise removals, reduced spares, and the ability to focus on other systems that need maintenance.