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The Game is still Changing: Digitalization within Aerospace Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO)

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Digitalization is steadily changing everything, from the ways maintenance is planned to parts secured to documentation, execution, and turning of wrenches in hangars. This has resulted in the need to re-skill and upskill leaders as well as employees, forming a more digital mindset leading to greater success within the aerospace industry.

Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, AR/VR, digital twins, and 3D printing to perform MRO operations have increased the efficiency of operations and have dramatically reduced turnaround time.

SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC), a subsidiary company of SIA is Asia’s foremost Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) provider has recorded revenue of $125.3 million for the first quarter of FY2021-22, $6.8 million higher year-on-year (+5.7%) largely driven by higher flight activities. Consequently, the Group incurred a lower operating loss of $2.9 million compared to the operating loss of $8.6 million in the same quarter last year.

The group has earlier announced on 20th January 2021 that it has started Phase 2 of its Transformation Program after seeing significant improvements in the company’s operating performance with its increased productivity and thus improved turnaround time and reduced operating costs after it began its Transformation Phase 1 since 2017. They have worked closely with OEMs that provide the data analytics and big data together to revolutionize maintenance—making it more predictable in terms of results and more cost-effective.

“The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant severe disruptions to the aviation industry has made it even more imperative that we press on with the next phase of SIAEC’s Transformation journey to strengthen our resilience and agility while positioning us to be first off the blocks when the upturn comes around. With the launch of Transformation Phase 2, we will strive to be more productive and innovative and emerge from this crisis with enhanced competitiveness. We will support our staff through digital training and equip ourselves with digital tools that enable real-time sharing of information and data-driven decisions,” said SIAEC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Chin Hwee.

ST Aerospace, the world’s largest airframe MRO solution provider has also integrated advanced predictive analytics into its system modeling for CFM56 engines to provide data-based engine health management programs which they have plans to expand predictive maintenance beyond engines to components. According to a Market Research Future report, the global digital MRO market is expected to register a 12% annual growth during the forecast period 2019-2030 which the report says: “Digitalization will help the industry to create a continuous stream of data flowing through different levels of the supply chain thus having a digital MRO strategy is becoming central to core strategies of organizations, helping them to gain a competitive edge over others and having the right tool to automate data ingestion, parsing it, and managing various versions of the document, amongst other tasks, can reduce indirect costs by more than 70 percent.