Computer Applications: Variety of software products available for maintenance operations

Variety of software products available for maintenance operations By Joe Escobar Technology is increasing at a rapid pace these days, especially in the area of computers. There are so many advances in software and hardware that it can easily seem...


Computer Applications

By Joe Escobar

Technology is increasing at a rapid pace these days, especially in the area of computers. There are so many advances in software and hardware that it can easily seem overwhelming when trying to choose the right system for your operation. But it could be an inevitable choice. With fierce competition in the aviation market, choosing a software application could either help you slash costs and reduce maintenance times, or it could lead you right to the poor house. One thing is for sure - you need to do plenty of homework and make sure that you make a choice that best fits your needs. There are several factors to consider when making this choice.

Legacy systems

The On-Line Dictionary of Computing defines a legacy system as: A computer system or application program which continues to be used because of the cost of replacing or redesigning it and often despite its poor competitiveness and compatibility with modern equivalents. The implication is that the system is large, monolithic, and difficult to modify.

A major decision when looking at a new software application is whether you want to find one that can work with your existing legacy system or whether you want to start off with a totally new application.

Many sorfware companies are able to sucessfully work with legacy system integration. One example is EDS/PLM Solutions. Its recent work at Tinker Air Force Base integrated five different legacy systems onto one web-based application, creating a portal that actually connects to its existing systems. Before, the process involved multiple re-entry of the same information into the different systems that weren't communicating with each other. Now, after logging on, the mechanic is able to view maintenance manuals and IPBs electronically and place orders with just a click. In addition, it integrated a Local Area Network of Fujitsu handheld devices so that the mechanics could have access to the information that they needed without having to leave the aircraft. In fact, it is working on incorporating voice recognition technology and speech-to-voice synthesis into the handhelds in the near future so that a mechanic could give a verbal command for the system to go and get the tech manual, bring it up, and have the section read to them while they have their head and hands on a maintenance task. They could even rewind and ask it to read the sentence back to them if necessary.

Handheld applications


Like EDS/PLM Solutions, many software companies are offering the ability to incorporate handheld devices with their systems. These have benefits such as portability and quick and easy access to data. On the downside, they have relatively small screens compared to computer monitors and may prove difficult to read in certain cases.

Sinex offers a handheld configuration to their product. Their software is a web-based system that offers users instant access to the aircraft records. It is a total system that allows for parts inventory tracking, routine and non-routine writeups, corrective action, and labor tracking.

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