TATEM Project Highlights Aircraft Maintenance Technologies

LE BOURGET, France--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The TATEM (Technologies and Techniques for New Maintenance concepts) project lead by GE Aviation (through its Systems division formerly Smiths Aerospace) is achieving significant success toward the goal of researching and validating technologies and techniques for reducing maintenance related costs.

The TATEM project takes a holistic view of on-and-off-board aircraft maintenance activities. The research includes new maintenance philosophies, technologies and techniques, to develop new approaches for maintaining aircraft structure, avionics, utilities, landing gear and engines. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the means to achieve a 20% reduction in airline maintenance related costs within 10 years and a 50% reduction over 20 years.

During the last year the project has successfully defined the architecture of a future integrated health management approach to aircraft maintenance. The remaining focus of the project is to build and physically integrate the critical elements of this architecture at a sub-system, system level, aircraft and fleet level. The selected architecture is both modular and scaleable and will be applied to on-and-off-board aircraft technologies and maintenance activities. One of the key unpinning technologies in the new approach is the use of prognostics to enable predictive maintenance planning. Fittingly, GE Aviation has recently tested algorithms for the diagnosis of actuators and contactors and is developing algorithms for prognosis of these systems.

The physical integration work is complemented by a model based cost benefit assessment of the TATEM technologies and processes on current and future aircraft operation. This will provide the ultimate means for assessing whether the project has been successful in its aims of reducing maintenance related costs.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at our Web site.

TATEM (Technologies and Techniques for nEw Maintenance concepts) is a 4-year European research project, which began in March 2004, costing €40 million, half of which is funded by the European Union's 6th Framework Programme. The project brings together a consortium of 57 contractors from 12 countries across Europe, Israel and Australia. The project is being led by GE Aviation in Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham.

Maintenance is a costly business that can account for as much as 20% of an airline's direct costs. The purpose of the project is to investigate methods for reducing the cost of maintenance on both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. The objective of the project is to ensure that the aerospace European industry remains competitive in the design and support of current and next generation aircraft.

The technical focus of the TATEM project is to assess the following maintenance philosophies, technologies and techniques:

  • Maintenance-free avionics that require no scheduled maintenance work.
  • Signal processing techniques (e.g. fuzzy, logic, neural networks, model-based reasoning), which can be used to convert data into information about the health of the systems.
  • Novel onboard sensor technology to gather data from the aircraft (avionics, utilities, actuation, engines and structures), to feed prognostic or diagnostic systems.
  • Diagnostic methods to identify and locate failures and malfunctions and so reduce the incidence of no fault found alarms.
  • Prognostic methods to provide support for preventative maintenance actions.
  • Decision support techniques to generate process-oriented information and guidance (instructions) for the maintenance engineer.
  • Human interface technologies to provide the ground crew with information, data and advice at the point of work.


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