Automated Methods for Virtual Maintainability & Aerospace Maintenance Planning

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Abstract. Modern business practices in engineering are increasingly turning to post manufacture service provision in an attempt to generate additional revenue streams and ensure commercial sustainability. Maintainability has always been a consideration during the design process but in the past it has been generally considered to be of tertiary importance behind manufacturability and primary product function in terms of design priorities. The need to draw whole life considerations into concurrent engineering (CE) practice has encouraged companies to address issues such as maintenance, earlier in the design process giving equal importance to all aspects of the product lifecycle. The consideration of design for maintainability (DFM) early in the design process has the potential to significantly reduce maintenance costs, and improve overall running efficiencies as well as safety levels. However a lack of simulation tools still hinders the adaptation of CE to include practical elements of design and therefore further research is required to develop methods by which ‘hands on’ activities such as maintenance can be fully assessed and optimised as concepts develop. Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to address this issue but the application of these traditionally high cost systems can require complex infrastructure and their use has typically focused on aesthetic aspects of mature designs. This paper examines the application of cost effective VR technology to the rapid assessment of aircraft interior inspection during conceptual design. It focuses on the integration of VR hardware with a typical desktop engineering system and examines the challenges with data transfer, graphics quality and the development of practical user functions within the VR environment. Conclusions drawn to date indicate that the system has the potential to improve maintenance planning through the provision of a usable environment for inspection which is available as soon as preliminary structural models are generated as part of the conceptual design process. Challenges still exist in the efficient transfer of data between the CAD and VR environments as well as the quantification of any benefits that result from the proposed approach. The result of this research will help to improve product maintainability, reduce product development cycle times and lower maintenance costs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 08 Jul 2013
EventAir Transport and Operations Symposium (Including ISIATM, ASDA and Complex World) - Toulouse, France
Duration: 08 Jul 201310 Jul 2013


ConferenceAir Transport and Operations Symposium (Including ISIATM, ASDA and Complex World)


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