ASD S5000F: taking Aircraft MRO to new heights?
In the 1990s, the combination of computer-aided design (CAD) and the concept of modular documentation gave rise to the first ASD standards (AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe). These standards offered a paperless – and therefore more flexible – management of Integrated Logistics Support, and in particular, maintenance documentation (ASD S1000D) and spares provisioning (ASD S2000M). The ASD S5000F standard publication and the simultaneous dawn in big data processing may now trigger a paradigm shift in aviation maintenance.
A complex industrial product such as a power plant, a ship, a train or a plane is constantly evolving and may involve well over 350,000 parts, sourced from hundreds of suppliers. In the case of an aircraft, coordinating support materials for training, documentation, and logistics is essential throughout its life cycle, as well as to maintain compliance with regulations.
In addition to aircraft upgrades to prevent obsolescence and enrich its functional capabilities, taking the “user experience” into account is vital to ensure consistency between the Main System and its Support System. While this information has, until now, been shared in a rather empirical way, the ASD S5000F standard, supported by the advent of big data and blockchain, promises to offer comprehensive control over the information chain.
But, what does this new standard entail? What are the advantages for manufacturers and operators, and what are the limits? Here are some insights.
The ASD S5000F standard or the efficient management of “in service feedback” information
Capitalising on feedback from experienced aeronautical operators, has until recently, only been standardised by the Air Transport Association, yet to a limited extent, and its implementation is often incomplete.
Collecting information, often meant going back and forth repeatedly, resulting in heterogeneous, often fragmented information thus of limited use, and with little benefits to operational availability and logistics. Taking forward the benefit from first generation specifications, the opportunity of developing a new ASD to structure and automate the information feedback arose. This new S5000F standard complements the family of ASD S-Series standards, all based on the highly successful Common Data Model.
The ASD S5000F standard, which was designed as a modular toolbox, structures the flow of information from the end-user to the designer. It is, therefore, possible to adapt:
- the main product itself;
- its Logistics Support Analysis (ASD S3000L);
- or its recommended maintenance plan (ASD S4000P);
- and, more globally, its support system
…according to share usage, maintenance and logistics data.
This modular in-service feedback system, tailored to the needs of customers and the designers, greatly simplifies access to useful information. This allows for continuous improvement of complex products in areas such as aviation, rail and maritime transport or even energy.
The information revolution: towards optimised maintenance
There will be many advantages in applying this standard, whose initial implementation is underway including:
- better design of logistics;
- optimised maintenance schedule; and,
- reduction in downtime.
The standard will reduce the overall cost of ownership by improving operational availability.
Information control will also provide manufacturers with a better understanding of market needs and how products are actually used.
Eventually, service contracts, becoming more dynamic, will better meet the operators’ requirements and be more competitive. Finally, big data technologies suggest mass processing of information is paving the way for better predictability of maintenance, in compliance with the regulatory framework. This progress will also increase the operational availability of fleets.
Data Management – paving the way for MRO transformation
While the ASD S5000F standard promises major breakthroughs in terms of optimising maintenance, certain implementation challenges still need to be overcome. The data model, jointly determined by manufacturers, operators, and international organisations, is currently being finalised. In addition, the critical nature of the data, both in terms of industrial know-how and civil or military use, requires a clear definition of the contractual framework for these discussions.
In order to enrich these data, intellectual property and confidentiality obstacles have to be removed by ensuring the security of these transactions, in particular by utilizing blockchain technologies. Finally, stakeholders are also faced with the challenge of using these data.:storing large amounts of data, processing the information and implementing the agile methods required to adapt products and services to the results, is not an easy task. Tools for analysing mass data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) are certainly promising. The entire ecosystem, therefore, has to be modified to allow manufacturers and operators to reduce their costs and optimise their maintenance: a participatory organizational model in which exchange is synonymous with operational efficiency is required.
For the standard to be successful, ASD S5000F will need to be pragmatically applied inline with the specific requirements of each program. The cross-sector application of the standard is a challenge. However, going beyond organisational silos paves the way for a new approach to building better services that provide more effective support.