This article originally appeared on the P&WC Airtime Blog.
Recently added to the ESP™ plan, our (Pratt & Whitney Canada’s) Oil Analysis Technology is a powerful diagnostic and prognostic tool that helps customers avoid unscheduled events. We outline some key benefits below.
1. A SIMPLE, USER-FRIENDLY SAMPLING PROCEDURE
Taking routine oil samples from your engine and sending them for analysis is a fast, simple process that gives detailed insights into engine health that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
This technology enables operators like Germany’s Arcus Air, an airline that offers chartered cargo and corporate flights, to plan maintenance in advance, thereby minimizing the risk of unscheduled events and maximizing engine availability.
Pratt & Whitney’s Oil Analysis Technology is a powerful tool that helps us better understand the health of our engines. We receive clear and concise data that allow for a quick overview but also for deep insights. Daniel Bürcky, Chief of Maintenance, Arcus Air
The sampling procedure is designed to be as user-friendly as possible. We provide customers with a kit that contains everything they need, from a syringe and tube or O-rings for collecting the oil to a pre-paid envelope with all the necessary paperwork for sending the sample to the lab in Canada.
Customers simply need to collect a sample during scheduled engine maintenance, then have the package picked up by FedEx. In return, they’ll receive a report outlining the results, along with recommended follow-up actions.
The sampling interval is typically from 200 to 300 hours, meaning that for a typical business jet or general aviation operator, samples only need to be taken once or twice a year, notes Frédérique Richard, Senior Manager, Oil Analysis Technology.
2. EXPERT INSIGHTS THAT ENHANCE OPERATIONAL CONFIDENCE
Oil analysis technology is used to monitor trace particles in oil-wetted components such as carbon seals, gears and bearings. It compares their current condition with the signature of other healthy engines in the fleet. Once a component deteriorates past a certain threshold, our team will provide specific maintenance recommendations.
It’s like going to the doctor to have a blood sample taken, explains Frédérique. If the doctor analyzes your blood and sees that you have a health issue, like slightly high cholesterol, she’ll suggest doing something like changing your diet or exercising more. Our Oil Analysis Technology works in a similar way.
We look at the data and if anything needs to be done, we help customers figure out the right next steps. We give them a tailored ‘prescription’ – a specific maintenance recommendation to address the matter before it becomes an issue. Frédérique Richard, Senior Manager, Oil Analysis Technology
The insights gained from this technology therefore give customers greater operational confidence by letting them know when they should keep a closer eye on specific components or take action to repair or replace them.
One example is carbon seals. If these components are left to deteriorate, it could eventually lead to unplanned maintenance events, which may entail unexpected costs like hangar rental, spare engine shipment or cancelled revenue flights.
All of that could be avoided with our Oil Analysis Technology.
“In some cases, we can tell hundreds of flight hours in advance if a carbon seal is deteriorating,” says Frédérique. “Once we see that, we’ll issue a recommendation to monitor its condition more frequently. When action is required, we’ll advise the operator to proactively remove the engine at the next scheduled maintenance and send it to the shop for replacement.”
Thanks to this technology, we’ve been able to identify early deterioration patterns and recommend proactive maintenance on a number of engines. These customers were able to schedule maintenance and avoid the disruption of situations such as cabin air contamination and metal in oil. Frédérique Richard, Senior Manager, Oil Analysis Technology
3. A CONTINUOUSLY EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY
To date, with the help of customers around the world who want to go beyond basic engine maintenance and are embracing early detection, we have collected tens of thousands of oil samples.
The more data there is to work with, the more detailed and accurate our Oil Analysis Technology becomes, because it’s not static. It continues to evolve, as the new data helps us to refine engine oil signatures and fine-tune our algorithms.
“It’s an ongoing journey,” says Frédérique. “We keep investing in the technology and working to improve it.”
The advanced analytics that we use allow us to go deeper than human analysis alone could accomplish. This enables us to identify engines at risk of a particular issue, prioritize maintenance work, and ultimately drive operational improvements, cost savings and greater engine availability Frédérique Richard, Senior Manager, Oil Analysis
technology combined with other technologies such as our FAST™ solution, it enables customers to understand their engine inside out and fly with peace of mind. If our Oil Analysis Technology is like a blood test, FAST is like an MRI. These prognostic and diagnostic tools complement each other, contributing to a more holistic view of engine health.
Oil Analysis Technology is one of several recent additions to our ESP™ maintenance program. Learn more here.