Boeing and GE Aviation have jointly developed a simpler method to implement condition-based maintenance systems on aircraft. It is called the Open System Architecture for Condition-Based Maintenance (OSA-CBM). This will become an industry standard with the signing of an agreement by the two companies to grant rights for its use to the Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance (MIMOSA) organization.
"The Boeing and GE implementation provides a 10-fold increase in real time performance of the Open System Architecture for Condition Based Maintenance (OSA-CBM) standard, making it practical for embedded health monitoring of aircraft systems," says John Armendarez, president of Avionics for GE Aviation. "This technology demonstrates a major step forward in condition-based maintenance for an entire aircraft."
Project managers implementing condition-based maintenance systems must integrate a wide variety of software and hardware components, each one developed to monitor a single supplier's system such as an engine, hydraulic, or braking system. OSA-CBM simplifies this process by specifying a standard architecture and framework to implement condition-based maintenance systems. This standard defines the binary form to implement the open systems architecture for condition-based maintenance.
"GE and Boeing have jointly designed and implemented these key system-enabling technologies under shared funding," says Peter Lawrence, Boeing Research & Technology director of Support Services. "This architecture allows aircraft and major-aircraft-system manufacturers to economically design and deliver health management capability within their fleets. The OSA-CBM framework provides a standard for systems to share health information, and the new binary implementation delivers this efficiently."
Laboratory testing in December 2008 validated the specification's operation in both embedded and PC-based environments, across multiple computer operating systems. The OSA-CBM framework is an important building block to what the teams have been calling "The Health-Ready Airplane."
The aim of condition-based maintenance (CBM) is to maintain the correct equipment at the right time. CBM is based on using real-time data to prioritize and optimize maintenance resources. Observing the state of the system is known as condition monitoring. Such a system will determine the equipment's health, and act only when maintenance is actually necessary.
Development in recent years has allowed extensive instrumentation of equipment, and together with better tools for analyzing condition data, the maintenance personnel of today are more than ever able to decide when the right time to perform maintenance on some piece of equipment is. Ideally, CBM will allow the maintenance personnel to do only the right things, minimizing spare parts cost, system downtime and time spent on maintenance.