Smart Wearables In The Aerospace MRO Industry


Man wearing smart wearable and working in an Aerospace MRO industry

The AR in the aerospace MRO industry is transformative. It overcomes the day-to-day challenges of the industry and opens new horizons for enhanced efficiency and safety by making MRO operations seamless, smooth and safe. 

The function of the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry is crucial in aerospace. It is the backbone on which the industry’s flight relies. If MRO doesn’t perform its duty conscientiously, the advanced tech pieces of the aerospace industry will suffer the loss of billions of dollars and precious lives. 

The aerospace MRO industry must navigate through the complex technological challenges and meet regulatory demands that require maximal efficiency and proficiency to ensure that each aerospace mission, whether a plane or spacecraft, completes its mission safely and efficiently. For this purpose, integrating Augmented Reality is a tool to mitigate and overcome the industry’s challenges and support all operational aspects. Undoubtedly, AR in aerospace is a boon to the aerospace MRO industry. 

This article highlights the challenges of the aerospace MRO industry and discusses the role of smart wearables in overcoming them.


The Challenges Of The Aerospace MRO Industry 

Aerospace is a technically challenging industry, which makes its MRO more complicated. Here are some of the challenges of the aerospace MRO industry. 


Regulatory Compliance 

The Aerospace MRO industry is bound to function under stringent regulatory requirements. Regulatory bodies regularly update the mandatory guidelines to improve performance and enhance aircraft safety. Following the continuously changing guidelines and training technicians in newer methods presents a challenge for the industry. 


Skilled Workforce Shortage 

Aerospace MRO is a technically challenging field demanding skilled technicians who can deliver quality services while meeting regulatory compliance. The aerospace industry faces a shortage of skilled workforce as new individuals don’t enter this field due to its competitiveness. Individuals entering the aerospace MRO industry also leave the field because of the challenging operations. 


Expertise Guidance And Timely Remote Collaboration 

MRO activities require expert guidance and remote collaboration when on-site technicians or aircraft on-field operators encounter a technical problem. Capturing and sharing photos or videos isn’t a suitable option, as the complexity of the problem requires faster troubleshooting and real-time support to solve it. 


Meeting The Technical Complexity Of Modern Aircrafts

Aerospace is an ever-revolutionizing technical hub that often welcomes modern aircraft with newer technology. The aerospace MRO has to understand the technical complexities of modern aircraft to provide the required services. This need calls for robust, extensive, and upgraded training of technicians so they can provide the required services efficiently. 


Supply Chain Issues

Supply chain issues adversely affect MRO activities, causing delays and reducing productivity and efficiency. Supply chain issues often affect cost management as companies attempt to find and arrange raw materials and supplies from alternate sources. 

Increased Turn Around Times And Cost Management

Increased turnaround times interrupt aerospace operations and impact cost management. Downtime affects operational activities, disrupts flight schedules, and causes financial losses. Aerospace MRO is complex. Lack of timely assistance, unavailability of parts, logistical challenges, access to data in remote environments, and many other factors increase downtime and operational costs. 


AR In Aerospace- Smart Wearables Resolving The Challenges Of Aerospace MRO 

Digital transformation with AR smart wearables helps the aerospace MRO industry overcome challenges. Advanced tech support solutions with smart wearables enhance MRO activities’ safety, efficiency, and productivity. 

Increased Access To Information 

One of the main challenges in aerospace MRO is the availability of complete information regarding an aircraft in remote places. AR-augmented smart wearables increase the accessibility to critical information, including maintenance and repair history, manuals, and instructions that assist the on-site technicians. Increased access to information in the technician’s field of view improves operational efficiency and speeds up MRO activities.

Support Remote Collaborations With Experts 

Aerospace MRO projects are challenging and require expert guidance as sometimes, the team that is immediately available needs help to resolve problems with complex machinery or engines of modern aircraft. Smart wearables solve this problem without calling experts on-site, enabling technicians to live stream and share their screens with remote experts. The facility empowers remote experts to see things from the technician’s field of view. It guides the technicians using AR annotations, overlay, and markers to speed up the work and improve efficiency. 

Reduced Errors 

Using AR-augmented smart wearables, aerospace MRO industries can significantly reduce the chances of errors in their operations. The availability of step-by-step instructions, remote expert supervision, and visual cues mitigate the chances of human errors in maintenance and repair work. 


Minimised Downtimes And Increased Workflows 

AR in aerospace speeds up the maintenance, repair, and overhaul work, minimising downtime and streamlining workflows. AR-powered digital guidance and step-to-step instructions reduce errors, save time, allow hands-free operations, and increase focus and technicians’ ability to perform their duties. AR smart wearables also help troubleshoot problems and resolve them with digital workflows, which greatly minimise downtime and increase the working speed of aerospace MRO. 

Extended Training Session

Training sessions hold immense value in the technically challenging MRO industry. AR technology offers immersive training experiences, allowing technicians to practice virtually on aircraft’s 3D models. Technicians can assemble and disassemble aircraft and learn the maintenance and repairs of each part of new and old models, allowing them to robustly train themselves and develop skills before working with real aircraft. 


Reducing Skilled Workforce Shortages 

With the rising technology, the aerospace MRO industry faces an acute shortage of skilled workers. Smart wearables are important in reducing this shortage and bridging the workforce shortage with augmented reality technology. The technology assists less skilled or experienced technicians in performing complex tasks with live collaboration with experts or remote assistance. This aspect is very beneficial for the industry, which is facing a shortage of skilled workers to perform duties, especially in remote locations.


Improved Preventive And Corrective Maintenance 

The primary purpose of the aerospace MRO is to maintain the aircraft in the best state or correct it if there are any errors in any of its parts. Functionality is essential, as aircraft won’t get clearance to fly if there are any technical errors that pose a risk to the lives of its users. AR wearables enhance visuality, help technicians anticipate and predict errors, detect errors, and perform complex repairs in less time. Improved preventive and corrective maintenance reduces downtime and improves the overall performance of the aerospace industry. 


Empowered Equipment/ Machinery Surveys And Audits

System status checks and audits are compulsory parts of aerospace MRO activities. AR technology makes aerospace MRO efficient, less hectic, and quick. AR wearables generate AI-assisted images of the aircraft, allowing experts to comment on conditions and perform audits efficiently. Real-time data visualisations help to dig into the history of maintenance and repairs, facilitating more accurate inspections in less time. The AR-assisted digital recording also brings transparency to machine survey and audit procedures, as there is no room for data tempering or making mistakes. 


Improved Data Analysis 

AR smart wearables have features that contribute to improved data analysis and informed decision-making. Real-time data visualisation, enhanced data collection, instant information access, and seamless integration with the maintenance system, along with remote assistance from experts, allow on-site MRO supervisors to analyse data efficiently. 


Improved Situational Awareness and Safety

Aerospace MRO regulations include practices to make aerospace safe for technicians and users. MRO training sessions focus on safety guidelines and improving situational awareness during the flight. AR wearables enhance situational awareness by overlaying digital information and displaying potential hazards during practices in real time to train and educate technicians, who then make efforts to improve general safety during MRO operations. 


Conclusively, AR in aerospace is a transformative tool that influences all aspects of aerospace MRO. It enhances the speed, efficiency and performance of the MRO industry and helps in overcoming the common challenges faced by the aerospace MRO industry during its day-to-day functions.

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