November 30, 2023

The Future of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul in Aerospace & Defense

Embracing new business models leveraging digital tools for predictive maintenance and optimized asset management can directly address operational inefficiencies in A&D.
Avatar Eric Ribeyre

The Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry is known for weathering change with resilience. At the forefront of innovation, and despite global disruptions, A&D has experienced significant growth in profit, safety and efficiency in managing capacity and fuel demand over the past decade.

However, progress is not without roadblocks. Operational efficiency remains a concern, especially in light of the industry’s continuous evolution. Technological advancements and the emergence of new operating models compound the complexity of asset management and maintenance – not to mention the high annual operating costs. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), annual operating costs are expected to reach $22.4 billion in 2023, more than double the $10.1 billion operating profit estimated for 2022. These challenges adversely impact service continuity and asset availability for companies that are inadequately equipped to handle such changes. Overcoming these obstacles is now vital for airlines and defense organizations alike in order to maintain agility and foster sustained growth and innovation.

Here, we take a closer look at what’s reshaping the A&D landscape and how optimizing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) processes is the key to success.

How do new business models impact MRO in A&D?

A&D companies are adapting to changing customer priorities, which include efficiency, cost savings, spare parts reduction and maintenance time optimization. This shift in mindset has led to aircraft designs that focus on the ease of future maintenance. Consequently, business models are also evolving to incorporate a greater focus on “fly-by-hour” and running hour leasing contracts, particularly for aircraft engines, along with a transition to more service-oriented offerings.

Despite these changes, several inefficiencies still disrupt MRO operations and can easily lead to quality, resourcing and maintenance problems – which hinder profitability, safety, punctuality and pose a risk during economic downturns:

  • Low aircraft availability and mission readiness
  • High operational costs due to unexpected maintenance
  • Reduced fleet availability and shorter product life due to inadequate field maintenance
  • Lengthy delays when unforeseen maintenance is required
  • Shortage of spare parts for repairs and replacements

How can A&D evolve MRO for uninterrupted operations?

Embracing new business models leveraging digital tools for predictive maintenance and optimized asset management can directly address operational inefficiencies in A&D. These solutions utilize data analytics, virtual twins for behavior simulation and digital monitoring to enhance MRO effectiveness. This helps boost fleet availability and punctuality while optimizing maintenance quality, safety and performance.

Transformation by these means presents promising opportunities to revolutionize MRO practices, allowing A&D companies to enhance asset management and maintenance operations by:

  • Utilizing digital tools for Integrated Product Support (IPS) activities to determine optimal maintenance strategies, influence design for serviceability and develop comprehensive support systems.
  • Defining precise work scopes for assets, optimizing planning and scheduling and enhancing work order execution through digital platforms.
  • Leveraging virtual twins with model-based simulation, Machine Learning (ML), Support and Service System Modeling, Multi-physics Modeling and Operation Modeling to predict asset behavior, enabling proactive maintenance and facilitating the determination of conditions for executing maintenance. This approach falls under the category of predictive maintenance, known as Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM).
  • Leveraging Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions to enhance maintenance quality and mechanics’ skill development.
  • Using historical data for scenario simulations, optimizing future maintenance and refining operations based on past experiences and future missions.
  • Employing digital platforms for comprehensive service contract management, improving global operations visibility and collaboration.

How DELMIA can extend your MRO capabilities for operational excellence

With DELMIA, A&D organizations can capitalize on these opportunities to drive improved asset availability, fast decision-making, effective disruption response and unparalleled efficiency.

Together with our “Keep Them Operating” Industry Solution Experience, DELMIA empowers A&D operators through the orchestration of advanced simulation, strategic optimization and cohesive data models to promote proactive decisions, streamlined operations and seamless management of complex maintenance requirements.

Through sophisticated simulation capabilities, the optimization of maintenance operations and a holistic view of the maintenance landscape, DELMIA solutions for MRO help A&D companies:

  • Optimize revenue and reduce service/maintenance costs through manpower optimization
  • Improve the efficiency of maintenance operations and enable remote support with AR
  • Reduce the number of spare parts in inventory
  • Optimize the maintenance process for speed and quality with our Planning and Scheduling solutions

Download our eBook to learn more about how DELMIA and the “Keep Them Operating” Industry Solution Experience can propel your organization’s asset management and maintenance to newer and greater heights.

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