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Middle Eastern Aircraft Services Company Gains Efficiency With RFID

Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies is using passive UHF tags to track the components it services, thanks to a solution it developed with help from Airbus.
By Claire Swedberg

At multiple workstations, staff members are equipped with Motorola MC9190-Z handheld readers. As an aircraft component arrives at each station, the worker at that location uses the handheld to capture the unique ID number of the label attached to the part's paperwork. The date and time of that component's arrival is then forwarded to the software, which stores the item's description, along with order details linked to that ID number. The read event is also displayed on LCD screens mounted at the workstations.

With the RFID system in place, ADAT's operators now spend less time entering data into the system at each workstation, thereby reducing the amount of time required for each component repair process. The system also enables operators to better manage the allocation of time for parts as they view which will arrive at each station, and when, on the LCD screen.

Not only can ADAT view the data at any given time to identify where a part is located, and which step it has reached in the servicing process, but the company can also analyze historical data in order to further improve processes. For example, it could use the information to pinpoint where delays may occur, and which components, employees or processes might be contributing to the delay, thereby enabling management to resolve any potential bottlenecks.

The technology reduces turnaround times, Saeed says, which means customers get their components back faster for use aboard their aircraft. "Reduced turnaround time improves production throughput, as well as customer satisfaction," he states. Moreover, the system helps to ensure that no errors are made while workers key in details, such as the serial number of a part that a staff member is working on.

While the pilot had consisted of reading tagged component paperwork at a limited number of repair stations, the RFID system has been fully rolled out at ADAT's Component Control Center, and to all workstations served by the Component Control Center.

Additionally, the company has recently launched another RFID-based project with Airbus, in which ADAT will tag the parts used at its Engine Center—where engines are repaired and maintained—thus enabling the firm to monitor which parts were installed into the engines it services. According to Saeed, ADAT is also exploring the possibility of using RFID technology to track tools.

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