First reported on by MRO Network in 2015, AutoInspekt is a robot designed to perform digital crack inspections on engine components with the help of high-end sensors.
By mid-2018 the technology should be combined with an automated repair process, AutoRep, to provide inspection and repair for combustor components of the CFM56 and CF34 families.
This is new ground for the MRO industry, where most work is still done by hand, but if automated processes do catch on, what will it mean for employment in the sector?
At present, where automation within MRO is largely software-based and restricted to the planning phase of checks or inventory management. LHT’s new technology is one of the first examples of its overlap with touch labor.
Traditionally, crack inspections are performed manually with dye penetrants, rather than the optical measurements of AutoInspekt.
However, LHT says that the new process, while more efficient, is not about cutting its wage bill.
“It is not the aim to hire less staff or to reduce existing staff but to support employees in their daily work and to free them from time-consuming and repetitive working processes which can be easily done by machines,” the company told MRO Network last year.
At the same time, AutoInspekt feeds into the MRO provider’s digitization drive, under which data will play an increasingly important role in optimising repairs through a compnoent’s life-cycle.
"Thanks to the AutoInspect procedure, we now have repair-relevant information available in digital form for all components throughout their product life-cycle. This makes our engine component repairs even more efficient and thus also benefits our customers," says Michael Ernst, AutoInspect project manager at Lufthansa Technik.