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Cranfield University uses digitisation to automate aircraft checks

Cranfield University

Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) has chosen Intoware’s WorkfloPlus programme to automate workflows and processes in aircraft and airfield operations.

The programme guides DARTeC users through step-by-step digital processes for everything from pre-flight aircraft checks to aircraft operations and maintenance tasks such as valve replacements.

By using a wearable device from RealWear, users can carry out processing tasks in a standardised manner and accurately follow instructions, while both hands are freed up to do the work.

Dr Ip-Shing Fan, senior lecturer in enterprise systems at DARTeC, said: “In aviation, a lot of operational and maintenance tasks rely on paper documentation. This is not sustainable for the future and so we need to be harnessing digital technology and automation tools to support the maintenance and operations of aircraft.

“Finding efficiencies while maintaining and improving quality and sustainability across all areas of aviation is at the heart of what we do at DARTeC, and the WorkfloPlus technology enables us to achieve this.

“We can use the platform to automate the orchestration of work in workflows, dispatching jobs to people and also capturing the inspection and work reports to better inform how we do things.

“It’s also a great way to coordinate teams of people and manage how they’re working alongside teams of robots within the same workspace.”

Cranfield University is unique, operating its own airport, air traffic control and a fleet of aircraft. DARTeC is part of the Cranfield University Global Research Airport and is the home to the passenger terminal and maintenance hangar laboratories developing digital technologies.

Keith Tilley, chief executive at Intoware, said: “The maintenance, repair and overhaul sector within aviation is lagging behind when it comes to digitalisation and the automation of systems and processes.

“Paper is all too often used to carry out checklists and ensure compliance. Digital automation takes away all of that and allows processes to be carried out far more efficiently, with added accountability and the ability to gather data back from work being carried out.

“It’s great to see DARTeC at Cranfield University embracing our technology in this way and we’re proud to be playing a part in creating a more sustainable, efficient aviation sector for the future.”

Cranfield University

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