Structural Monitoring Systems (SMs) in March provided an update on the first installation of the company's Comparative Vacuum Monitoring (CVM) sensor kits on Delta's aircraft at the AAR facility in Oklahoma.
CVM sensors are designed as a replacement to existing non-destructive inspection techniques to streamline identifying and/or monitoring cracks in metal structures and can operate as an "early warning system."
The installation took place in front of representatives from Delta Airlines, Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Anodyne Electrical Manufacturing Corp. (AEM) ahead of the FAA's consideration of the relevant Boeing Service Bulletin.
The fitting of CVM sensor kits in 21 Delta aircraft took place more than 12 months before.
Activities undertaken in tandem with the installation and testing included the revamping of Boeing's Service Bulletin drafts and associated documents.
SMS Executive Chairman Ross Love said, “This is an innovative, leading-edge technology that we believe has the potential to become a routinely accepted method for performing periodic continual maintenance on all aircraft types worldwide and we look forward to making further inroads into this market."
In January, SMS had announced that it had secured the first commercial sales of its CVM technology after receiving its first commercial purchase order from Delta Air Lines for an initial four CVM Sensor Kits for its Boeing 737NG aircraft.
The confirmation of the first sales of the patented CVM sensors marked a significant milestone in the company’s history as SMS progresses conversations with major airlines to widen the use of the technology to incorporate further aircraft and applications.
According to SMS, Delta Air Lines indicated that Aft Pressure Bulkhead (APB) sensors will be installed progressively in aircraft undergoing heavy maintenance inspections throughout 2023. Once installed, the sensors allow for monitoring for metal fatigue without the time and expense of a visual inspection, and Delta expects significant savings in maintenance time over subsequent years across their entire fleet of 77 Boeing 738NGs once the installation has been completed.
In March 2022, the FAA granted a Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the use of CVM Sensor Technology in another B737 application. That approval marked an extraordinary milestone in aviation history for an Australian-made technology, the first-ever in the world regulatory agency-approved sensor technology validated and certified for detecting critical structural cracks on aircraft.
The use of CVM is expected to meaningfully impact industry maintenance inspection methods from a time and budgetary perspective moving forward and will be marketed to a global customer base.