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RFID im Blick

RFID-based Inspection- and Documentation System at Airbus

Use Cases | By PR RFID im Blick | 15 December 2014

Aviation Industry: Maintenance in airplane manufacturing

Lash & Lift retrofitted a total of 2 400 components to simplify inspection and documentation

„On one hand, we wanted to offer a better service to Airbus that would distinguish us clearly from competitors. On the other hand, it made following the legal requirements easier for our test technicians“, explains Lars Schulz, Branch Manager Lash & Lift, about the implementation of a new maintenance solution at the Airbus factory in Stade, beginning in 2012. „Identify, activate, test, document, archive – these steps stay the same, whereas the time factor shrinks significantly with RFID-based testing and documentation.“ In an interview with „RFID im Blick“ , he explains with great detail the necessary requirements and process conversions implementing the RUD-ID-System.

Lars Schulz, Branch Manager, Lash & Lift talking with Jan Phillip Denkers, „RFID im Blick“

Unique feature: Inspection service

For more than ten years, Lash & Lift has been entrusted with the testing and inspection of all working materials as well as other additional materials and utilities, lifting tackles and hoists that are subjected to testing. In the year 2012, the maintenance service provider began with the gradual introduction of the RUD-ID system. „On one hand, we wanted to offer a better service to Airbus that would distinguish us clearly from competitors. On the other hand, it made following the legal requirements easier for our test technicians“, tells Lars Schulz.

Risks of manual documentation

Lars SchulzLars Schulz „The current standard in documentation is the usage of a chain record card or an excel-record list. The susceptibility to an error is very high in such kind of solution. There is a risk of being displaced by a row when registering, to enter a wrong number, or the right component can simply not be found – those are only small possible errors“, says Lars Schulz. For the documentation, the test technician needs to know exactly what component he is working on, preferably with all associated records: manual, inspection instruction, and dimensional drawings. „There were or still are multiple folders consisting of documentation material in every foreman’s office. For identification, the components are equipped with an inspection plate, attached to the item with a wire rope. What is to be done if the tag gets lost? A lot of valuable time gets wasted searching for lost items.“

Law-compliant inspection

The legal situation must be clear for the inspection and documentation as well. How is this component supposed be inspected? What criteria must be followed? Are there check lists or special demands? „The idea to answer all these questions with a single solution was the impetus to introduce the RUD-ID-NET. One system should cover all working materials and equipment. A reading device should be used in practical and the barriers for entry preferably low. Above all, the marking is needed to meet various criteria.“

Baking at 210 degree Celsius and ten bar

An endurance test for the HF-RFID-transponder at the Airbus factory is the hour-taking baking of aircraft components made out of CFRP in an autoclave. The transponders are exposed to a temperature of 210 degrees and at that time there is a maximum pressure of ten bar. „The tag overcomes these challenges without problems and remains to be reliably readable“, says Lars Schulz. Even at a high number of vibrations and shocks, the transponder is not to fall out of the notch. However, if applied correctly, the transponder stays in place, as proven in the daily use of the working materials at airbus, firmly together with the component. „In another practical test, a hook was shot peened for more than two hours. Nevertheless, the transponder is impeccably readable and remains firmly in the drilled hole.“ There are already more than 2 400 items labelled with a transponder at airbus. More are following steadily.

All documents stored in the system

For the commissioning of the products that must be inspected, all product information is saved in the cloud and linked to a 16-digit number that is saved on the transponder. To operate the system, one must simply access the internet with any terminal equipment via a web browser (for example laptop or smartphone) is needed. „The transponder number is read out and the related article with all details is displayed for the commissioning. With a click onto the equipment, further information is given such as manual, declaration of conformity, CAD-data, and others. There is the possibility to individually set the inspection intervals“, explains Lars Schulz.

Inspection with an inspection order

Using the test management’s user interface, the user can directly access the inspection order, and so gets an overview of the operating equipment that needs to be inspected. Lars Schulz: „When a mistake at an inspected item is found, the interface offers the inspection technician the possibility to enter information about the defect and the intended repair measures so that he can finish the inspection afterwards. At some inspected tested objects and test values need to be within a pre-defined range of tolerance in order to be able to finish the inspection. When all equipment was inspected, the inspection order may be set to “done”. Personal order data can be added before saving. The user always has the option to print any selection of information.“

Retrofitting in three minutes

The procedure of every inspection consists of identifying, testing, documenting, and archiving. „With the RUD-ID-Net, the steps are identical but the time factor makes a significant difference that brings customers a considerable benefit. The inspection technician gets to the company within a short time and is hardly interfering with the employee’s work. The cost factor can be calculated and is manageable. The error count equals null“, summarizes Lars Schulz. „The documentation is available and comparable at any time. The work steps for the equipment’s retro-fitting were to winnow, inspect, marking out, grain, drill, register in the RUD-ID-NET and commissioning. Expenditure of time for all steps without pre-sorting per equipment: About three minutes.“

Last modified on Saturday, 24 October 2015 21:01