Protecting your brand, budget, and the environment
Managing the in-service life of an aircraft coating is vital both for airline safety and your brand image. Reducing the amount of time your aircraft spends on the ground (AoG) is similarly important, directly impacting your operational effectiveness and the bottom line. Getting the timing right between painting and repainting your aircraft is therefore a key focus, and the reason behind the launch of Aerofleet Coatings Management.
With Aerofleet Coatings Management we’ve created a new digital, data-driven service to help you see and think differently about your coating regimes. Rather than simply repainting your aircraft at set time intervals, even when a new coat may not be required, we can bring greater accuracy and efficacy to your coatings’ strategy. Aerofleet Coatings Management can help you reduce costs, prevent aircraft being unnecessarily on the ground, and support greater sustainability – all from the same innovative thinking that has led to coatings with much longer life and greater durability than ever before.
Aerofleet Coatings Management – a proactive approach
In simple terms, Aerofleet Coatings Management is a proactive monitoring and predictive maintenance service designed to help airlines and other large operators to tailor and optimize the coatings’ replacement and maintenance schedule for individual aircraft within their fleet.
External coatings have evolved rapidly in the last decade from single stage to basecoat/clearcoat systems, extending the need to repaint some aircraft for up to ten years or even more. Despite this, aircraft still tend to be taken out of service for maintenance every six or seven years without really knowing if a repaint is needed.
Aerofleet Coatings Management addresses this issue by capturing the data from both manual inspections and drone-operated inspections, creating a database of every aircraft in a fleet. The history includes details of the coatings used (e.g. single or basecoat/clearcoat coatings) along with flight path data (e.g. weather conditions etc.) which affect the integrity/longevity of the coating applied.
By analyzing this information, and mapping it over time, a more accurate maintenance and repaint schedule can be calculated using quantitative data. It becomes easier and more accurate to determine when an aircraft needs to be repainted, rather than simply using time or flight hours. And it means schedules can be created that balance the practical performance of a coating and where the aircraft in a fleet are being operated (i.e. the different flight paths, distances, heights, environment etc.) against the aesthetic/marketing (i.e. branding) and business needs of the airline.
Ideally suited for fleets in excess of 100 aircraft, the inspection service is provided by experts within AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings using a digital application. The App stores the information collected, such as dry film thickness, color variation, gloss, and general appearance, as an Audit Report on an iPad or tablet. The data is then fed back to a database which tracks the fleet’s performance over time.
Enhanced inspections with automated drones can standardize and enhance aircraft inspections by using machine learning image recognition. Drones capture up to 1,000 HD photos in a set grid to standardize and speed up inspections, providing an in-depth analysis of paint surface issues. Drone inspections can be conducted more frequently with less downtime over the lifetime of an aircraft.
Reducing time spent on the ground
Whether digitally recording data manually or via a drone, the objective is to only have an aircraft on the ground when it is actually needed. For the first time, the repaint schedules for whole fleets of aircraft can be mapped years in advance, making the scheduling process and budgeting easier and more efficient. It means that aircraft are only repainted when needed, rather when they still have life left in them. Using Aerofleet Coatings Management will reduce costs while increasing aircraft availability by anything up to a year. Over time, the frequency with which aircraft need to be repainted will fall, which is significantly better for an airline’s bottom line, and better for the planet. In a world where fleet operators are increasingly focused on protecting the environment, Aerofleet Coatings Management can play a strategic role in helping organizations meet their sustainability targets.
Cost case study
The following example is based on a real scenario involving narrow body aircraft. The cost savings will be greater for fleets with widebody aircraft: