The aerospace industry felt the need of Internet of Things long ago. The industry loses a lot of money in maintenance of big, hefty engines which are powered by high-octane hydrocarbons. According to an estimate by Boeing, every aero-engine maker loses on average about $40 billion per year in maintenance costs. But Internet of Things is set to solve this problem once and for all, thanks to the sensor-based systems that are giving rise to a new era in the engine industry.
Predictive Maintenance Powered by IoT
Rolls-Royce was the first company to propose the use of sensors to dwindle maintenance costs about two decades ago. The idea of using sensors and Internet of Things in general to proactively detect problems before their actual realization is called “Predictive Maintenance”. According to an estimate by Thomson Reuters, predictive maintenance can save billions per year for the aerospace companies which make engines and machinery for airplanes.
Sensor-Based IoT Is Helping Airline Companies
IoT-based predictive maintenance is in action in several other areas of the transport industry. In Germany, Siemens uses its IoT-based Railigent digital system to save money. The system is used in the manufacturing of hundreds of rail cars. The system notifies the maintenance operators well before the occurrence of issues. How? Sensors. Sensors detect anomaly and digital systems plot consistent abnormal behaviors, suggesting that there is a problem in the system.
Digital sensors are used to continuously monitor temperature of key devices in engine, level of fuel, air and pressure. Maintenance crew stay updated with the most relevant and useful data about the aircraft.
There are various aircrafts which are actually using IoT systems in their engines. The Connecticut-based aerospace company Pratt & Whitney’s CEO recently told Financial Times in an interview that the company’s latest engine PW1000G has 40% more sensors as compared to the engine’s earlier version. The engine relays data packers every 2.5 seconds. Based on this data, maintenance time for the engine is scheduled.
10GB Per Second Data from 5000 Sensors
In 2015, Bombardier revealed its jetliner C Series engine made by Pratt & Whitney. The engine has over 5,000 sensors which relay about 10GB of data per second. Data is the single most important factor in the Internet of Things systems. Companies are now using data from sensors to improve security and reliability of aircraft systems.
GE’s IoT System
General Electric’s Flight Efficiency Services helps airline companies cut their annual fuel bills by 2% due to IoT and predictive powers. GE and Italian airline Alitalia are working for the last 15 years to develop systems to increase fuel efficiency using IoT.
In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) is another miracle that was possible due to the Internet of Things revolution. Almost every passenger plane these days is equipped with high-speed connected devices.
The impact of Internet of Things on the aviation and aerospace industry is just getting started. According to a report by General Electric, almost 37% of airline companies in the world allocate money and resources for IoT. The total number of airliners spending money on IoT will increase to 58% in the coming years.