Customers of Pratt & Whitney will be able to follow aircraft parts through the MRO process by downloading a smartphone application called Track that the manufacturer is testing with certain buyers.

P&W's Track application, available in the iTunes store, can display details about spare parts deliveries, component repairs and engine overhauls. The company wants customer feedback to improve efficiency in returning engines to service. Privacy protections on the app are designed to ensure only customers can access their MRO information.

“Our employees and customers can access the information they need without delay, regardless of time zone," Eva Azoulay, P&W vice-president of commercial aftermarket, says in a statement.


The mobile app is part of P&W's effort to support new products like its line of geared-turbofan engines. Technical challenges with geared turbofans have also spurred the company to expand its network of facilities equipped to service them and return them to flight as soon as possible, says Hamish Guthrie, general manager of P&W's Columbus engine center in Georgia.

“You can see us growing a global footprint where are customers are actually operating the aircraft”, with facilities equipped to service geared-turbofan engines in North America, Europe and Asia, Guthrie says during remarks at the MRO Americas summit in Atlanta.

“Every engine is slightly different”, so facilities are being designed with different details to accommodate geared-turbofan variants, Guthrie says. Doing so avoids a “cookie-cutter approach” during repairs and maintenance, Guthrie adds.

Data sharing between MRO facilities is also part of P&W’s goal of learning best practices to address specific problems with geared turbofans. The company says increased maintenance scrutiny of engines has significantly reduced removal rates.

“We need to learn about that engine, and that learning takes time,” Guthrie says.

A handful of geared-turbofan failures in 2018 were traced to a faulty knife-edge seal in the high-pressure compressor aft hub of some PW1100G-JM engines. Nobody was injured but these incidents led the European Aviation Safety Agency to ground some A320neos for inspection.

The geared design adds a mechanical gearbox to a conventional turbofan so that the front fan turns slower than the interior turbine. This slower rotation enabled Pratt & Whitney to increase the length of the fan blades, expand the fan diameter and boost the engine's bypass ratio, achieving improved efficiency.

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A screenshot of the Track smartphone app, via P&W

Source: Cirium Dashboard