Southeast Asia is a hotbed of aftermarket development for Western manufacturers and now British manufacturer GKN Aerospace has opened an engine repair and research facility in Johor, Malaysia.
The $30 million facility will initially focus on servicing engine low-pressure compressor (LPC) components for CFM56-5B, CFM56-7 and V2500 engines and will be operational in 2019.
In this year’s Engine Yearbook, GKN discusses its long experience developing data analysis for military engine support, offering lessons for the commercial sector about the best utilization of life-limited parts.
GKN’s Life Tracking System, developed for the Gripen fighter’s RM12 engine, uses engine-related parameters that are logged onboard the aircraft during flight. This information is then extended by combining actual measured parameters with parameters coming from offboard engine models and life analysis models for each life-limited part in the engine. Here one can see parallels with engine and maintenance companies’ development of ‘digital twins’ – virtual engines that contribute to better lifecycle analysis.
By using more of the onboard logged data, together with data coming from offboard models in the life consumption calculations, the accuracy of life predictions can be improved while the actual load spectra for each component can be analysed. Thus, a more complete picture of the engine’s performance is produced and one of the biggest uncertainties in the life analysis chain – the uncertainty of the actual loads – is reduced.
More accurate life tracking means substantial savings for maintenance via reduced spare parts and labor costs, while also allowing more flexible operations.
“Ironically, the effectiveness of LTS means that GKN Aerospace will make less money from spares and maintenance over the life of the aircraft. More importantly, though, the system enables new business models, creating win-win situations for both operators and suppliers over long-term aftermarket support contracts,” writes GKN.
To find out more see the forthcoming Engine Yearbook 2019 published in November 2018.