Rolls-Royce creates ‘Facebook for engines’ to improve reliability

Posted on 8 May 2018 by Jonny Williamson

A new ‘social network for engines’ is to help Rolls-Royce to improve the engines’ availability for the company’s business jet customers.

‘Each engine has a ‘profile’, which shows data on how it’s been operated’, Cabrejas said – image courtesy of Pixabay.

In business aviation, keeping engines ready to fly is crucial, because improving the engines’ availability means lower costs and more reliability, according to Juan Carlos Cabrejas, Technical Product Manager for R2 Data Labs.

One of the ways to improve availability is by making better use of the data the company collects on the engines, from how they are flown, to how they’re maintained.

According to Cabrejas, this is a fundamental part of the IntelligentEngine vision, in which the engines will be increasingly connected, contextually aware and comprehending, helping to deliver greater reliability and efficiency:

Cabrejas said: “Currently our data is collected by different systems. So we’ve been looking at ways to bring it all together, and present the results in a user-friendly tool to give our engineering colleagues a complete picture of operations.”

For inspiration, the company looked at popular websites that present data in accessible ways. With Facebook or LinkedIn, Cabrejas could see what friends or colleagues have been up to, often going back years.

Cabrejas underlined, that sites like Amazon and Netflix use powerful algorithms to suggest products or films, based on the preferences of others with a similar profile to you. Rolls-Royce applied the same ideas to engines.

That’s how the Engine Network works

Engine Network is a new app that presents all of the important information on the engines in a fleet in a single place.

Each engine has a ‘profile’, which shows data on how it’s been operated, the aircraft it has been paired with, the parts it contains, and how much service life is left in each component.

The complete story of the engine’s operational history is told in a timeline, just like on certain social media sites. And there’s also a newsfeed within the app that displays the most important insights from across the fleet.

Cabrejas said that the most exciting thing about the Engine Network capability is the recommendation algorithm we’ve built into it.

He said: “Just like the examples mentioned before, Engine Network suggests pre-emptive maintenance work for individual engines, based on what it learns from other engines in the fleet with a similar profile.”

Rolls-Royce can use the network to improve the way it manages the fleets. And the service teams can use the app to make more informed decisions on maintenance and take action early to ensure maximum availability.

And the Engine Network gives the company  a way to gather valuable intel from across the engine fleet, and to automatically analyse that data to apply lessons learned from one engine to the next. Cabrejas: “This capability is essential to our IntelligentEngine vision, as it underpins our ability to build a frictionless data ecosystem across our fleets.”

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