Airplane Maintenance Simulation Analysis

Background

A leading aircraft manufacturer required consulting expertise to identify issues and recommend solutions for service and maintenance operations on the manufacturer’s airplanes. In essence, the customer needed to see four simulations that provided accurate confirmation that a given set of parts on an aircraft would be field serviceable and ergonomically compliant. If the parts could not easily be accessed, it would mean the expensive and time consuming removal of an entire sub-system. In order to perform such a major repair, the aircraft would need to be moved to a fully equipped repair site, thus removing it from whatever theater of operation it was assigned to serve.

AMT Engagement

They contracted AMT in a consulting capacity. AMT chose to use DELMIA V5 Software to do the analysis because it offers a comprehensive suite of digital manufacturing software that streamlines manufacturing processes, brings products to market faster, lowers manufacturing costs, and encouraging innovation.

AMT was given a list of parts on the aircraft in need of servicing. From this list, AMT created simulations, showing the removal of four of these parts: the oil filter, thermocouple, fuel atomizer and fuel filter. The parts were selected because of their proximity to the boundaries of the simulated airframe access panel. They appeared to be the hardest to reach and thus provided the most beneficial results.

When creating the simulation, AMT had to determine which tools to use and restricted it to a standard tool set such as pliers and screwdrivers. The simulations showed a repair sequence for the various components chosen. Additionally, DELMIA’s V5 software allows for the simulation’s end-user to see exactly what the real life operator would see at any given point in the process. This feature allows the operator could easily see the location of the repair.

Most of the challenges encountered by AMT during the simulation process dealt with hand clearance and visibility. The wiring harness, for example, is wrapped almost entirely around the turbomachine. Consequently, the operator is forced to adopt unusual postures to compensate for the restricted access. Since this simulation was being built to ensure ergonomic compliance and produce a repair process, removal of any necessary component was within the project specifications.

Manikin Performing Repairs

Afterward

In all but one of AMT’s simulations, it was proved that the operator could access the parts without removing the entire turbomachine. Making certain that people are not forced to adopt ergonomically incorrect postures due to poor design benefits both the employer and the employee. Reductions in healthcare cost from fewer stress injuries and short-term disability save companies’ money while a more comfortable work environment increases worker morale and productivity. If the manufacturer can design a product with maintenance and disassembly in mind, then issues during maintenance such as hand clearance, reaches, and grasps may not arise in the future. Therefore, AMT was able to aid their client in designing the necessary demonstrations.