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Avionics Testing | Aviation Maintenance Magazine

28 May 2024

Avionics repair and test equipment and procedures are integral to maintaining the reliability, efficiency, and safety of aviation operations. Aviation Maintenance spoke to several leaders in avionics repair and test equipment to take the pulse of this niche market.

Aviation Maintenance Magazine talks to Louis Mallette - President of AJW Technique, AJW Group’s 220,000 sq. ft. MRO facility in Montreal, Canada - about the importance of maintaining a wide spectrum of sophisticated equipment and tools that can diagnose and troubleshoot issues 

Mallette replies that Repairs and testing procedures involve maintaining and troubleshooting intricate electronic components such as radio and communications systems, radar systems, flight management computers, autopilot and navigation systems. These activities help identify and rectify any malfunctions or discrepancies in avionics systems ensuring they operate at optimal levels.” 

As modern aircraft have become technologically advanced, so have the avionics repair and testing procedures and equipment used to maintain them. How has this changed the intensity of avionics testing?  

Mallette explains, “The testing of avionics components has become significantly more intensive, driven by new testing standards from the aircraft manufacturers and equipment OEMs to drive increased reliability and enhance safety on modern platforms. 

As an example, the number of test points performed during a typical avionics’ unit test is now easily 10 to 100 times what it would have been 20 years ago. ATE performance has clearly improved over the years and in conjunction with more efficient test software, has not increased the overall test time.” 

When asked about the growing trend towards predictive maintenance, Mallette states that, in his experience, its adoption within the aviation industry varies significantly among different stakeholders, reflecting diverse levels of technological readiness and strategic approaches.  

These challenges must be addressed to foster more collaboration and to achieve widespread adoption to the benefit of the industry.” 

Avionics Testing | Aviation Maintenance Magazine

Mallette also notes that the innovation of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) has enabled AJW’s maintenance technicians to visualise complex systems and components in a virtual environment, facilitating training, troubleshooting and repair tasks. AR and VR also provide interactive step-by-step guidance during maintenance procedures, improving efficiency and accuracy while reducing human error. 
 
The article discussion then turns towards the impact of digitalisation and Mallette explains how digital transformation within avionics repair and test workshops has positively affected workflow management and efficiency during the repair process. He elaborates, stating the management of work orders, shop planning and scheduling, and parts pre-provisioning processes have all made great strides at AJW Technique over the past few years, due to digitalisation. 

Furthermore, BI (Business Intelligence) reporting provides greater visibility of the factory performance at a macro level, while also facilitating easy status visibility at an individual work order level. This has supported an improvement in overall efficiency and enables us to maintain short repair turnaround time cycles whilst optimising technician capacity and inventory holdings.” 

Finally, the journalist tackles the question of obsolescence, a significant problem, particularly after post-Covid-19 shutdowns, that had a major impact on supply chains. 

Mallette agrees that obsolescence, especially of electronics components, is an issue for the maintenance of the automated test equipment and for the avionics components. However, he affirms that repair and testing procedures remain similar throughout the life of most components.  

The article concludes that today’s technologically advanced world makes repairing and testing avionics an exciting field. It requires specialised training, an aptitude for critical thinking, and people who can integrate the digital with the mechanical to solve problems. While accurate procedures and technologically advanced equipment can improve efficiency and ensure quality, it is the individuals doing the work that are crucial to the success of any MRO operation. 

Looking for a world-leading MRO organisation? Contact AJW Technique today. 

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