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Industry funded Cranfield vehicle health management centre starts work

Cranfield University has officially opened an integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) centre at its Cranfield, UK site, with four launch partners: BAE Systems, Boeing, Meggitt and Rolls-Royce.

The centre's initial project is to map IVHM applications to their prospective industrial sectors. At a launch event earlier this month, a team demonstrated remote maintenance support from a live boroscope video feed from a helicopter engine inspection. In an industrial scenario, this feed would go to a support desk manned by analysts capable of making a repair decision.

The centre has a £3 million infrastructure investment from the East of England Development Agency, while university co-founder Boeing and the other launch partners are each investing £1 million for a five-year period.

"We want manual [health management] activities automated. We are interested in what is the right data. What would really make a difference. We want to predict and diagnose problems before they happen," says Boeing Phantom Works support technology director Peter Lawrence, the centre's first two-year term chairman. Boeing has also two assigned two technical fellows to the centre.

To continue operations beyond 2014, the university wants 12 core partners, a group that could include AgustaWestland, which visited the centre earlier this month for briefing on the project.

The centre also has a member partnership class. This is for an annual fee of £30,000 and could give an organisation such as a government agency observer status.

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