Today, airlines face tremendous pressure from rising business costs, low-cost competitors, and passenger service demands; airlines constantly need to search for new advances in technology and process improvements to develop a competitive edge. For everyone’s safety, the industry will never get away from or minimize a thorough checklist that flight and ground crews must go through to deem the aircraft fit to fly, through ICA compliance. But there is an easier, more efficient route for the flight crew.
RFID, radio frequency identification, is an accurate way for technicians, using a small hand-held device to quickly record and collect various data points about the equipment on-board. Commonly used in other industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and IT; RFID tags allow users to streamline processes, reduce inventory and increase operations. Within the permanent tag, different data points can be stored like date of manufacture and next service date. A handheld RFID reader will analyze that information first to ensure all equipment is present, and second to ensure the equipment is compliant and within service.
With more insight into operations, lies the advantage to efficiently improve and ultimately save more in the long run. The aviation industry, with its various logistics and scheduling challenges has the most to gain moving away from antiquated and unreliable systems.
Airbus recognized this advantage and has been experimenting with RFID from as early as 2000, testing and perfecting the implementation of RFID across its different tools and equipment. With successful results in terms of medium-strong savings per project, in 2015, Airbus became the first manufacturer to request RFID tags from suppliers for the new A350 XWB and Boeing is quickly following suit.
With the growing switch to RFID, Switlik Survival Products recently announced a collaboration with
GlobeRanger, a Fujitsu company for their RFID solution across our commercial airline vests. GlobeRanger is the leading provider of automatic identification technology across the aerospace industry. Switlik is committed to delivering the highest quality products available, so when looking for a partner, GlobeRanger’s Emergency Equipment Management (EEM) application was our top contender not only as the industry leader but their system has received a letter of operational suitability from the FAA.
Utilizing the GlobeRanger system, once Switlik RFID tagged life vests are on board, on the handheld RFID reader, users can pull up a diagram of the entire aircraft cabin and walkthrough the aircraft holding the trigger. Targets will begin to change according to status, demonstrated in the image below.
Upon completion of the walkthrough, you can submit the inspection and generate a full report. With this, crew no longer needs to manually handle each piece of equipment, the RFID reader will automatically confirm all emergency equipment is present and serviceable. The Switlik GlobeRanger partnership will help airline operations lower costs, improve efficiencies and reduce manual error with:
- Up to 99% inspection lead time reduction
- 100% error-free data reliability
- Up to 20% product life cycle recovery previously lost to premature replacements due to prolonged inspection intervals and a lack of fleet-wide situational awareness
- Elimination of non-ergonomic human functions (no more stooping, bending, twisting, crawling, etc.)
- Elimination of needless open up and close for inspection access, reduction of associated damage