Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sanad Aerotech (Sanad), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala) and a leading provider of aircraft engine Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) solutions, has launched its first move towards disruptive Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology implementations. This reaffirms Sanad’s customer-first ethos and longstanding commitment to the aircraft engine MRO sector.
To commence with its digitalisation roadmap, Sanad signed a memorandum of understanding with SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software, for an automated maintenance process tool. The move of tapping SAP’s expertise is part of Sanad’s digitalisation strategy aimed at further enhancing efficiencies across its industry-leading aircraft engine MRO process from its state-of-the-art Abu Dhabi facility.
This effectively adds to Sanad’s growing list of innovative technologies, which also includes TrackIT RFID technology to track and trace, monitor and manage engine parts and Blockchain Technology digital ledger.
Over the last two years, Sanad has deployed Honeywell’s AI enabled and customised ‘VoCollect’ digital voice data capture solution and Atlas Copco’s ‘Smart Connect’ digital electronic wrenches.
Sanad’s adoption of these technologies is expected to further slash Sanad’s aircraft engine MRO services turnaround times by 15%, reducing turnaround times by three days for minimum work scope level and up to 10 days for maximum work scope level.
“Time is money and this fact that has never been more relevant than in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, when speed to market is a decisive competitive advantage,” said Sanad Aerotech CEO, Mansoor Janahi. “These newly deployed assets are highly efficient, disruptive technologies that utilise the latest advancements in digital systems. This roll-out is in-line with Sanad’s evolution into a leading global MRO player that embraces breakthrough technologies to enhance operational efficiency and most importantly customer service.”
Sanad is the first regional MRO provider to deploy TrackIT RFID technology on its shop floor. The system tracks parts and manages their flow throughout the entire MRO process, allowing real time assessment of part readiness, arrival and ease of forward planning.
“There is no longer any need for individuals to manually follow or track paperwork to know where parts are at any given stage of our process,” explained Janahi. “The technology enables easier traceability of literally thousands of parts, saving days on the engine MRO maintenance cycle.”
Steve Tzikakis, President, EMEA South, SAP, said: “Sanad Aerotech’s digital transformation with SAP shows how Intelligent Enterprises in the aerospace and aviation sectors can leverage technology innovations to optimise operations, costs, and customer experiences. We are exchanging global best practices to support Sanad Aerotech’s long-term growth and competitiveness, and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030’s goals of growing the local aviation and aerospace sectors.”
In another regional ‘first’ deployment, Sanad is utilising the VoCollect to capture distinct voice commands – including observations and malfunction diagnoses – digitally. The system then feeds the data into the engine MRO process to save time and eliminate errors associated with manual processes.
“The technology involves various algorithms including machine learning to teach the system to recognise the voice of different technicians performing the work,” explained Janahi. “Our initial implementation of the technology delivered hugely significant saving and elimination of data capturing errors. We are now in the process of implementing this technology in various stages of our MRO processes and across the full range of engines we maintain,” added Janahi.
Sanad is using ‘Smart Connect’ digital wrenches in its bolt tightening operations to capture data digitally and, again, save time and eliminate human error risks.
“With thousands of bolts being tightened every day, and each joint exhibiting unique characteristics, each tightening is now performed automatically to the required torque values suited to the unique joint specification, with information recorded directly into the system,” explained Janahi. “Having demonstrated decreased time consumed in each tightening process and reduction in errors, we are now expanding the implementation of this technology to various areas within the facility.”
Further technology adoptions include the use of blockchain in creating a digital ledger that provides a safe way to conduct and record transactions, agreements and contracts, providing all parties with visibility, transparency and traceability of clients’ assets from the start.
Deployment of the latest 4IR solutions is a key move in Sanad’s strategy to be at the forefront of MRO technology adoption, with further advancements under consideration.
“We are now transforming into a new technology company,” said Janahi. “As our business evolves, our goal is to invest in deploying state-of-the-art technologies to solve real life problems on the shop floor, enable growth and enhance our capabilities to deliver highly efficient and reliable customer services.”