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AerData

Aviation compliance, AerData

Industries:

  • Aerospace & Defense

Offering Groups:

  • Scanners

Solution Areas:

  • Imaging Solutions

Regions:

  • United Kingdom

Challenges:

  • Correspond to highly regulated standards of aircraft maintenance
  • Create a sustainable way of accessing records quickly and accurately

Benefits:

  • Able to conduct around 12 million scans per year AerData is enabled to go anywhere in the world to scan the records
  • Facilitated AerData’s busiest ever year in 2011, with some teams spending over 30 weeks on the road carrying out scanning projects

Globe-trotting Fujitsu scanners keeping planes in the air

AerData logo

“AerData recommends Fujitsu scanners as they provide a fully portable solution that enables us to scan the records of any aircraft, anywhere in the world. For most of last year, we had scanners out on the road, scanning approximately 12 million documents per year.” – Steve Furness, Operations Manager, AerData

Summary

All commercial aircraft are required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to comply to highly regulated standards of aircraft maintenance. As a result, all aircraft are required to generate detailed maintenance records, for reasons of compliance, as well as for mechanical reasons. An individual aircraft creates around 8,000 documents per year, all of which have to be retained for the entire lifecycle of that aircraft. An electronic solution was required in order to create a sustainable way of accessing these records quickly and accurately.

To tackle the need for accessible aircraft data, in 2002, AerData developed their STREAM software, designed to specifically address the needs of those wishing to manage, protect and share access to vast quantities of scanned aircraft and engine technical records. At the heart of this solution lies a range of Fujitsu scanners that enable fast access and indexing of aircraft records. In 2010, AerData decided to upgrade their scanners to Fujitsu scanners, which were the best all round option available to fulfil their needs.

The Fujitsu scanner solution implemented in 2010 enables AerData to conduct around 12 million scans per year. The new Fujitsu scanner units facilitated AerData’s busiest ever year in 2011, with some teams spending over 30 weeks on the road carrying out scanning projects at international locations.

The success of scanners and software solutions like STREAM, has led to predictions that in the future, hard copies of aircraft data stretching back many years will no longer be required. The aviation sector is one of the most scan-heavy industries which contributes to maintaining air travel as the world’s safest method of transport.

The challenge
All commercial aircraft are required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to meet highly regulated standards of aircraft maintenance. These standards are rigorously enforced by National Aviation Authorities across the world. Aircraft maintenance records consist of printed forms that are filled out by hand by certified engineers before and after every flight an aircraft makes. This means that an individual aircraft creates around 8,000 documents per year, all of which must be kept for the entire lifecycle of that plane. It is vitally important that maintenance records can be easily recalled for a variety of different reasons, including inspections, incidents and sales.

The Solution
AerData developed their Secure Technical Records For Electronic Asset Management software (STREAM) in 2002, and placed scanning at the heart of the process. STREAM enables fast access and indexing that can be customised as per the client’s specification. The software saves scans as PDFs and then applies OCR to them so that they’re all OCR searchable. In 2010, AerData decided to upgrade their scanners to Fujitsu scanners, which were the best all round option available to fulfil their needs.

Benefits of the Fujitsu fi-6800 / fi-6670A / fi-6130

High image quality - up to 600 dpi optical resolution colour scanning, usually operated at 300 dpi
High-speed – the fi-6800 scans up to 130 pages per minute, the fi-6670A up to 90 ppm and the fi-6130 up to 40 ppm.
Easy to operate - the fi-6800 has a 500 sheet document feeder, the fi-6670A has a 200 sheet document feeder and the fi-6130 has a 50 sheet document feeder. They all accommodate a variety of document sizes and double-feed detection for reliable scanning

Impact
The Fujitsu scanner solution implemented in 2010 enables AerData to conduct around 12 million scans per year. The flexibility that the Fujitsu scanners bring has enabled AerData to go anywhere in the world to scan the records. The Fujitsu scanner units facilitated AerData’s busiest ever year in 2011, with some teams spending over 30 weeks on the road carrying out scanning projects at international locations.

Looking ahead
AerData sees the requirement for a hard copy disappearing from the regulations in future. This will place even greater emphasis on scanners to capture all of this critical data. Scanners and software, like STREAM, are at the heart of the aircraft maintenance and management sector. The aviation sector is one of the most scan-heavy industries which contributes to maintaining air travel as the safest method of transport.

The Challenge

"Every time an aircraft flies, a flight log or a technical log is filled in by the crew. At the end of every day there are various daily checks on the aircraft, followed by a weekly check. As the weeks pass, that progresses to a larger check every few months followed by a greater check every 18 months. Every five or so years, a full structural check is required and then the cycle starts again." - Steve Furness, Operations Manager, AerData

All commercial aircraft are required by the International Civil Aviation Organization to comply to highly regulated standards of aircraft maintenance. These standards are rigorously enforced by National Aviation Authorities across the world and no aircraft is allowed to fly unless it is approved. As a result, all aircraft are required to generate detailed maintenance records, for reasons of compliance, as well as for mechanical reasons.

These aircraft maintenance regulations have existed since the commercial aviation boom of the 1950’s and 1960’s and although they have been tweaked from time to time, the spirit of the regulations remains the same.

Aircraft maintenance records consist of printed forms that are filled out by hand by certified engineers before and after every flight an aircraft makes. This means that an individual aircraft creates around 8,000 documents per year, all of which have to be retained for the entire lifecycle of that aircraft. Commercial aircraft will often be in operation for as much as twenty years or more, leading to the generation of around 200,000 documents.

The generation of aircraft records on such a huge scale creates a challenge in regards to the access of these records in the weeks, months and years after they were first produced. It is vitally important that they are easily recalled for a range of different reasons. For instance, the National Aviation Authority in any particular country has the right to request records on any particular plane at any time. There would also be the need to access records at very short notice if there was any sort of incident with an aircraft. Also, almost 50% of aircraft are leased, and from time to time the lessors may want to check that the operator is looking after the aircraft correctly and performing the right maintenance for that aircraft.

The Solution

“Historically, a hard copy of the paperwork was stored in archives for many years. We’ve developed this software and, whilst we often keep the hard copies, we now scan all the documents into STREAM and keep them electronically, enjoying the benefits such as efficiency, cost saving, OCR search-ability and global distribution via the web.” - Steve Furness, Operations Manager, AerData

In 2002, AerData developed their Secure Technical Records for Electronic Asset Management software (STREAM), designed to specifically address the needs of those wishing to manage, protect and share access to vast quantities of scanned aircraft and engine technical records.

Although AerData were utilising scanners before this, they had found limitations with basic scanning to PDF and the STREAM solution was designed to overcome these issues, whilst maintaining scanners at the heart of aircraft records management.

STREAM enables fast access and indexing that can be customised as per the client’s specification. The software saves scans as PDFs and then applies OCR to them so that they’re all OCR searchable. On top of the OCR search, all the relevant records are then indexed, so there are two ways of finding a record, one by the OCR text and one by the metadata index.

When technical records come in they have to go through a preparation process, where all staples and dog-ears are removed. Once scanned, they then go through a quality control process where the operator checks every image on the screen against what they’ve scanned to ensure everything has been captured and meets the right quality standard. All paperwork goes through a process called de-preparation and that is actually putting the records back exactly how they were found.

In 2010, AerData decided to upgrade their scanners to Fujitsu scanners, which were the best all round option available to fulfil their needs. AerData currently have six fi-6670A’s, five fi-6800’s and eight fi-6130’s. AerData staff are able to quickly and easily get up to speed on the usage of Fujitsu scanners when they join the business.

Impact

“Once the documents are scanned in, we go through a further process of indexing the paperwork where we bookmark relevant documents that are required, particularly when transitioning the aircraft to another operator. The records can therefore be located and recalled straight away rather than sieving through boxes and boxes of dusty paperwork.” - Steve Furness, Operations Manager, AerData

The Fujitsu scanner solution implemented in 2010 enables AerData to conduct around 12 million scans per year. The new Fujitsu scanner units facilitated AerData’s busiest ever year in 2011, with some teams spending over 30 weeks on the road carrying out scanning projects at international locations. The scanners were on the road for the entire year with some deployed for over 155 days, compared to an average of 80 days that AerData had seen previously.

AerData deploy their scanning fleet in innovative flight cases that are carefully fitted out to provide good protection for the scanners. They have found the Fujitsu scanners to be very robust to match this task, experiencing minimal damage.

The flexibility that the Fujitsu scanners bring has enabled AerData to go anywhere in the world to scan the records. AerData also receives an increasing number of requests to visit aircraft hangers all over the world containing 10 years or more of records, take them back to the UK to be integrated into their STREAM software and then share the data with the client.

In 2012, AerData had deployments to everywhere from Brazil and the US, to Australia and anywhere in between.

The Future

“I predict that sometime in the next few years, the legislation will change so that an electronic copy will be acceptable. In fact, this change has already started.” - Steve Furness, Operations Manager, AerData

It is currently a regulatory requirement for all documentation to be retained as a hard copy in addition to any electronic copies. This places a huge strain on archiving and the need to store heavy volumes of paper. AerData use a partner in Crawley, UK, to store around 10,000 archive boxes of maintenance records. AerData see the requirement for a hard copy disappearing from the regulations in future, and this will place even greater emphasis on scanners to capture all of this critical data.

Scanners and software, like STREAM, are at the heart of the aircraft maintenance and management sector, and this is set to continue for many years with their roles potentially becoming even more vital. AerData, on the other hand, see the scanning and indexing services they offer as a declining part of their business. Aircraft operators and leasing companies are bringing these capabilities in house. Maintenance bases are also increasingly scanning their records as a matter of course, however, the need for a secure centralised software platform such as STREAM remains, and the shift from contract to in-house scanning places an equal demand on Fujitsu to supply the hardware necessary to capture high quality scans for the industry

Conclusion

The combination of Fujitsu fi-6800, fi-6670A, fi-6130 scanners has enabled AerData to scan 12 million aircraft maintenance documents per year across the world.

The success of AerData’s STREAM solution, facilitated by Fujitsu scanners, has changed the way aircraft maintenance records are handled for good and has led to scanner focused solutions becoming the norm across the globe.

The aviation sector is one of the most scan-heavy industries which contributes to maintaining air travel as the safest method of transport.

AerData - Innovative Software Solutions and Services for Aviation

AerData provides integrated software solutions for lease management, engine fleet planning, records scanning as well as technical and backoffice services for aircraft and engine operators, lessors and MROs. In addition, through a new partnership with leading valuation and consultancy firm AVITAS, AerData publishes world aircraft fleet data with the Avitas Bluebook valuations. With a strong customer focus AerData delivers a reliable and secure service to its clients using latest technologies and state of the art IT infrastructure. AerData has an experienced team of 125 professionals across four offices in The Netherlands, UK, Ireland and the USA. Within AerData, software developers and aviation experts work together seamlessly in order to deliver exceptional software, product support and reliable back office services to the aviation industry.

AerData is trusted by some of the world’s leading aviation companies. The combination of secure and reliable hosted software with unique business applications delivers significant cost and productivity savings.

AerData operates to ISO 9001 and ISAE 3402 standards.

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