Technology is helping to keep the 'dependable' in 'Dependable Engines at Pratt & Whitney'.

Engines that think for themselves, once the province of science fiction, are now on the path to becoming a reality with measurable cost saving benefits.

R-R Fying test bed

P&W data shows that an engine utilising a health monitoring system that alerts the operator when it needs attention can reduce an operator's cost of ownership by 5% over the engine's life. Even larger benefits are possible when new systems 'design in' diagnostic capabilities.

For example, in one operator's fleet alone, automated monitoring and analysis of high-pressure compressors saved an estimated $28 million over a two-year period.

Health management means engine removals, parts requirements and mandatory maintenance work can be better anticipated, leading to more cost-effective engine ownership.

The practice of health monitoring at P&W is built on the foundation of a modern software system called Advanced Diagnostics and Engine Management (ADEM). P&W's Fleet Management Programme (FMP) customers receive ADEM benefits as part of the FMP service.


It is also available to other customers, including those who fly competitors' engines under a service called Engine Management Programme (EMP). More than 40 operators are now EMP users.

The maturation of health monitoring, called prognostics, builds on the ADEM system. P&W's technology development path uses ADEM functionality by adding knowledge data from new sensors, and high-speed wireless capability to address on-wing issues in line-operations.

The ADEM-proven prognostics formula extends to other aircraft systems such as controls, landing gear and hydraulics, and is part of the vision for future stages of development.

P&W's vision is moving quickly toward reality. Advanced sensors are now demonstrating reliability in severe environment military operations and are already giving maintainers detailed information isolating problems and describing solutions.

Communication technology is also progressing in the air and in practical maintenance operations on the ground. April's first flight of the Airbus A380 showed the potential for airborne data delivery to the ground: as the aircraft was flying, it constantly beamed back measurements of 150,000 parameters to Airbus headquarters.


Source: Flight Daily News