Putting components to the test

System identification methods for aircraft components

Technical services companies like Lufthansa Technik are finding themselves faced with major challenges when it comes to developing maintenance procedures for new aircraft types, highly complex component technologies, and systems. The test environments and testing methods required for the component tests in the area of maintenance are becoming increasingly more complex and sophisticated. Detailed and in-depth knowledge of the new technologies is essential in order to also offer cost-efficient and competitive maintenance services in the future.

Lufthansa Technik has therefore developed methods for aircraft components together with the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg in the framework of the research project "MESYAC - Methods for System Identification of Aircraft Components", so as to gain a detailed understanding of the technology of the components. A methodology cluster was developed in this context for aircraft components in areas such as hydraulics, engine components, hybrid technologies, and avionics. This methodology cluster together with the vast experience already available at Lufthansa Technik will allow the development of innovative maintenance procedures and therefore ensure technology efficient and cost-effective introduction to new aircraft types.

Activities focused primarily on the technical analysis of components and their technology as well as the application and enhanced development of methods to enable better analysis and understanding of the components based on theoretical models. This provides the basis for allowing test, diagnostic, and maintenance procedures for new components to be designed efficiently in the future also. An intensive exchange with experts from university institutes allows Lufthansa Technik to keep pace with the technical developments and provide a modern, efficient maintenance environment.

The "MESYAC" research project was carried out in the hydraulics and avionics technology areas. In the area of hydraulics, for example, a method was developed for defining optimal test parameters for hydraulic flight control actuators (electromechanical transducers) using the example of the Airbus A340. This will allow more efficient maintenance of hydraulic components to be ensured in the future, which will take account both of the behavior of the individual components in operation as well as any fault cases that arise. This method can be applied in this way to a variety of other actuators, such as the Boeing 777, and therefore serves as an essential basis for developing in-house capacities at Lufthansa Technik.

The research results of the project, which ran from October 2012 to March 2015 and was supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) contribute in an important way to the future competitiveness of Lufthansa Technik. Innovative procedures can be developed based on the new findings and methods, which significantly increase the efficiency of maintenance services, further enhance in-house maintenance, and reduce turnaround times for components. This will allow Lufthansa Technik to increase customer satisfaction and consolidate its own market position as a leading maintenance services company in civil aviation.