Keeping your overview – without paper

"Paperless maintenance": maintenance documentation for a digital age

In a digital age, letter-writing and postcards have become unfashionable. So it's even more astonishing that a lot of industrial documentation is still circulated on paper. Aviation MRO companies, too, generate several tons of paper documentation every year. This is why Lufthansa Technik established the "paperless maintenance" program in 2014 to eliminate paper-based processes in aircraft maintenance. The program aims to convert all the primary documentation for maintenance measures and integrate it into the digital environment. 

Standard practice in aircraft maintenance up to now involved inspecting a faulty component on-site and then transferring the necessary data to the paper-based Ground Log Book at documentation consoles. The mechanic had to transcribe numerous details and create references to applicable aircraft documentation. If a new component needed to be ordered, he or she had to go to a computer and re-enter all the data again, this time in an order form. This process took a lot of time – and was the source of many input mistakes and corresponding inconsistencies.

Meanwhile, at Lufthansa Technik all the data that used to be entered by the maintenance staff in the GLB is now entered electronically just once. The foundation for this paperless maintenance is the Maintenance Log application, which is used to carry out all the necessary maintenance documentation electronically at the aircraft, from data entry to transmission to a variety of mobile devices. The first documentation type to be used within the Maintenance Log is the electronic Ground Log (eGL), which thus replaces the formerly paper-based Ground Log Book (GLB). Additional documentation types, such as the electronic job card (eJobcard) or the electronic technical log book (eTLB), are in development.

Function- and role-specific menu guidance and documentation aids in the form of auto-fill and drop-down menus – which are even fully functional on a smartphone – help mechanics enter data rapidly and without errors. The wide use of mobile terminals in the production area means that all information is available in real-time. For this reason, nearly all the mechanics are equipped with personalized terminals that enable those involved in the maintenance process to immediately access the specific information that is relevant for them – from any location. Simplified search functions and transparent menu guidance help employees find the required data quickly. An offline client in the Maintenance Log enables mechanics to go on working seamlessly even if data transmission fails.

Thanks to "paperless maintenance", Lufthansa Technik saves more than just paper: The provision and transmission of all its information is accelerated and data quality is improved. Certain processes can be eliminated or become leaner and easier to manage. Employees benefit from improved workplace ergonomics, a reduction in redundant tasks and media discontinuities, and uniformity in documentation processes. At the same time, the Maintenance Log app is a strategic answer to digitalization measures in Lufthansa Technik's surroundings, because customers, partners and operators are increasingly working with electronic systems themselves, and in the future it will be possible to synchronize their systems with Lufthansa Technik's. This will ensure the integration of customer systems as well as the rapid implementation of the requirements of Part 145 processes.