20 Mar 2016 12:00
Etihad Airways Engineering has enhanced its aircraft maintenance capability with a new Automated Tool Control (ATC) system which provides engineers with greater tool access, handling and traceability, and eliminates the risk of tools being lost in critical aircraft systems during maintenance.
Connected by Wi-Fi to a central server, and capable of providing an audit
trail of the last 15,000 transactions, the automated system tracks the tools
that are selected and is immediately able to identify any broken, lost or
The toolbox can’t be opened until the engineers scan their badge against
the reader mounted on the front of the box. The badge identifies the engineer
as an authorised user and the box unlocks. Using the built-in touchscreen, the
engineer confirms their job task (work order / task number) and job location.
The new system was successful trialled at Abu Dhabi International Airport
in November 2015, and was rolled out across all Etihad
Airways Engineering maintenance bays in
Around 350 staff have
been trained on the new system, with over 50,000 transactions being recorded
to-date – with no missing tools.
Jeff Wilkinson, Senior Vice President, Etihad
Airways, Technical, said: “Tool control is a key factor for success as
we look at ways to improve maintenance processes that reduce workflow, optimise
efficiency and enhance safety.
“With our new ATC system, our engineers are able to get
on with the job quickly and efficiently, without having to take additional
steps to track, register or look for the tools they are using, saving
significant amounts of time.
“This also enhances safety as a lost tool isn’t just an
inconvenience to the engineer, but it’s also a potential safety hazard if
unintentionally left inside an aircraft,” he added
Multiple systems, some consisting of up to 1,000 individual tools per box, and
others with dedicated tools for electrical and cabin engineering work, are allocated
by the systems administrator to an authorised engineer assigned to a specific maintenance
task on the aircraft.
Engineering’ Technical Maintenance department currently has 32 automated tool
boxes in-house, with an average of 20 systems currently online at any one time.
The remaining systems will be integrated to the Automated Tool Control server and
administration software as required to meet the needs of the maintenance teams
as aircraft come in for maintenance.