How could 5G connectivity make Aircraft Repair more efficient?

New Products and Technologies at MRO Exhibition in Amsterdam Europe 2021

Introduction

Earth & Flight Composites BV Training and Consultancy Bert Groenewoud is the owner and founder of this e-learning website.
Bert is a composite repair specialist and certified instructor with over three decades of experience in Composite Repair.  Together with Composite repair specialists GMI Aero, Paris, France, they go way back to 1991 while working for the KLM Training department. Bert at the training department ordered the first GMI Anita NG Dual-zone Hotbonder for the KLM Engineering & Maintenance composite shop training department.
Owner Bert Groenewoud is per 2020 representative for GMI Aero France in the Netherlands. Please get in touch with Bert Groenewoud through Calendly (Click here) If you have any questions about composite repair training, the use or thinking of buying the right Hot bond console.

Abbreviations:
MRO –
Maintenance Repair Organisations
OEM- Original Equipment Manufacturer (Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Gulfstream etc.)

GMI Paris, France

George Kanterakis is the research and innovation director at GMI Aero. According to Kanterakis, sharing data for quality assurance between airlines, MROs, OEMs, and regulatory authorities is critical.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that a composite repair has accurately followed parameters for curing temperature and time to achieve the correct mechanical properties.
Currently, says Kanterakis, the process is relatively inefficient.

Composite repair specialist GMI Aero’s Anita hot bonders have launched a European innovation project to test the use of 5G technology to improve efficiency within aircraft repair processes.
Through the EVOLVED-5G project, GMI Aero will conduct research and development by connecting its hot bonder equipment to the “Industry 4.0 ecosystem” via 5G infrastructures.
The 5G enables the digitisation of the composite repair process, which offers many benefits to the end-user, such as an MRO or composite parts repair station.

As research and innovation director at GMI Aero, sharing data for quality assurance between airlines, MROs, OEMs, and regulatory authorities is necessary. Sharing data to ensure that a composite repair has accurately followed parameters for cure temperatures and time to achieve the correct mechanical properties of the material. Currently, says George Kanterakis, the process is inefficient.
“Today, you perform a repair cure, send your data to a printer, and then submit it at the various levels,” he says. ”

It takes time to send all this data and does not give any room for any intervention online, and if the repair is terrible, you need to restart.” In addition to speeding up the process.
Kanterakis says the project could help certify composite repairs occurring globally and with different environmental parameters by creating a digital or physical twin.
If an aircraft from a major U.S. airline lands in Mexico City with damage at a critical composite part. First,  you need to repair it by using a hot bonder.
Still, there are a lot of challenges,” Kanterakis says, noting that it would be difficult for a composite repair specialist to achieve a good vacuum due to Mexico City’s high altitude and potential humidity.
However, using 5G technology, the airline could work virtually with an OEM elsewhere to create a physical or digital twin with the same parameters to certify the degree of curing achieved through the composite repair.

The technology will work by connecting GMI Aero’s Anita hot bonders to an application through 5G or Wi-Fi to provide engineering departments with a real-time picture of equipment and repair processes.
For example,  an MRO performing multiple hot bonder repairs at once could keep track of all the relevant parameters and intervene as necessary.
“You could have better reporting to prove what you have done by including photos, videos, design data, non-destructive testing data. All that data in one report that will go to the quality assurance,”

George Kanterakis also notes that connectivity will enable equipment such as GMI hot bonders to become portable. Al this allows composite repairs on the apron, which he says has previously been challenging due to environmental conditions. GMI Aero eventually foresees the connected hot bonder as one piece in an ecosystem of similarly connected equipment to comprise a “factory of the future.”

The EVOLVED-5G project will be ready to finish by 2021.  George Kanterakis says GMI Aero is running several projects in parallel to take advantage of new technology capabilities.
One project, called Adapt HEAT, is developing a solution using zonal control to create several independent heating zones tailored to the thermal signature to create a homogenous field, even in complex repairs. Kanterakis says the technology is applicable for components such as Boeing 777 nacelles or Airbus A380 trans-cowls.
GMI Aero also plans to have the new Anit 4 version hot bonder available by the end of 2021 incorporated with new features in light of the EVOLVED-5G research.