How is the technology being used by airlines or maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities? Are there any documents that discuss the state of adoption, broken down by airplane manufacturers, airlines, maintenance groups and so forth?
I don’t know of any documents that offer such a breakdown, though in June 2011, RFID Journal published an update about radio frequency identification’s use in the air-transportation sector (see Air Transport Industry Weighs Benefits of RFID). It’s possible that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also produced a report about RFID adoption.
In general, I would say that RFID’s use in that industry is still in its infancy. However, Airbus and the broader European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) group are doing a lot with the technology (see How EADS Group Manages RFID Change, Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3).
Airlines are just beginning to take advantage of RFID. For example, Delta Airlines is employing the technology to track oxygen canisters (see RFID Reduces Oxygen-Generator Waste for Delta Air Lines). Boeing, meanwhile, has launched an MRO service that utilizes RFID (see Boeing to Launch RFID Program for Airlines in February).
TAP Portugal and its TAP Maintenance and Engineering (TAP M&E) division have incorporated RFID technology into their daily engine-maintenance operations, developed in partnership with Megasis (a TAP group company), as well as Airbus, Accenture and OATSystems. This, according to the companies, is the first time that an MRO has integrated RFID technology into its production process in order to track aircraft engine components undergoing maintenance (see TAP Saves More Than $3.3 Million on MRO With RFID).
Here are some other articles and videos that you might find of interest:
Lufthansa Expands RFID Use
The airline’s various divisions are using Mojix RFID hardware to track aircraft-part maintenance and hazardous cargo, while testing the use of handheld readers and its own tags to track safety devices on planes.
Rolls-Royce Tests RFID’s Potential to Drive Its Supply Chain
The U.K. engines manufacturer is exploring ways in which RFID might be used to improve its internal processes.
Best Practices for Tool Control: Reducing FOD Risk and Improving the MRO Process and Supply Chain
Aerospace companies and MRO facilities must consider tool control a high priority. Government contracts now require that tool-control methods be put in place when building or maintaining an aircraft. There are many methods for tool control available, but this video explains a best-practices method of automated tool control at the point of use, in order to ensure 100 percent positive tool-control methods.
Airbus Expands RFID Part Marking Across All of Its Aircraft Families
Building on its A350 XWB deployment, the airplane manufacturer is now expanding its RFID part-marking activities to all seats and life vests for its A320, A330 and A380 aircraft.
Lufthansa Technik Uses RFID to Expedite Aircraft Repair
At its German facilities, the aircraft-maintenance service provider is attaching ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC RFID tags to documents accompanying airplane parts, thereby reducing the need for manual data entry.
MRO Is Major RFID Opportunity for Aerospace and Defense
ABI Research predicts that the market for RFID from the aerospace and defense industries will reach $2 billion during 2011. Drilling down into this figure, one of the key opportunities for RFID that the firm identifies is that of MRO.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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