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Business potential of structural health monitoring in aeronautics

: Boller, Christian

Jennions, Ian K. (Ed.):
Integrated vehicle health management : Business case theory and practice
Warrendale/Pa.: SAE International, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7680-7645-5
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer IZFP ()
structural health monitoring (SHM)

The article addresses initially strategic aspects of structural health monitoring (SHM) implementation into costly engineering structures such as aircraft. These are related to the damages due to occur in a structure resulting from accidental, environmental and fatigue damage, the latter being specifically a result of operational use. The article also emphasizes SHM to be considered as a system in the sense of a holistic approach not being just limited to damage monitoring only but also including loads monitoring and the aspects of prognostics in the sense of fatigue life evaluation. The article demonstrates that the ability to operate is core to an expensive structure such as an aircraft and that cost for inspection personnel and equipment become comparatively minor. A multi-step approach is described on how to determine SHM potentials which is then applied in two real test cases, the one being a major inspection (D-check) of a most popular civil aircraft type and the other the inspection of a so called 'drop-out', an inspection resulting from a service bulletin and hence being often outside the initially scheduled maintenance plan. It is concluded that it is mainly those drop-outs and ageing phenomena on aircraft in general not being part of a maintenance plan initially configured which turn out to be the most rewarding business cases for SHM.