Blockchain is no buzzword these days and is being increasingly adopted across sectors such as banking, healthcare and legal. Blockchain is a shared ledger that keeps time-stamped records of transactions along with the processes within it. Blockchain has huge potential for application in the Maintenance, Repair and Operations / Overhaul (MRO) space. Although adoption of blockchain has been low so far, instances of blockchain-MRO integration are being seen in the aviation industry.
A company can record the complete configuration details of MRO components in the blockchain. Data associated with every manufactured MRO component is usually registered in the database of a company and can be manipulated by manual entries. However, registering this data — and all other related data such as serial codes — in blockchain will make it impossible to manipulate. If an MRO component is installed anywhere, the information generated can be stored in the blockchain. If there are any issues with the installed MRO component or the component malfunctions, maintenance technicians can use the information to check details about the component — such as the time of installation and how long it lasted — to decide whether to replace or repair the component. If the MRO component is repairable and is repaired, the information can be added to the blockchain for future reference.
Removing Risk of Counterfeit MRO Components
Blockchain makes it possible to seamlessly store documentation across different companies — from manufacturers to MRO service providers. It can also streamline the lease returns and make the supply chain system for MRO components much more efficient.
Blockchain can also check the spread of counterfeit MRO components. Low-quality and cheap counterfeit MRO components are defective and don’t last long. Not just that; they endanger the lives of many, especially when they are supposed to be installed in automobiles, trains or airplanes, where many lives are at stake.
Having an MRO component on the blockchain is beneficial for companies, as the entire lifecycle of a single component can be reviewed. It will also decrease the risk for MRO service providers as they would be able to use blockchain technology to provide verifiable documentation about the parts they have installed at any point in time.
Blockchain-MRO Integration in Aviation Industry
Blockchain for aviation (BC4A), an initiative launched by Lufthansa Industry Solutions, has been brought to life with a goal to bring together all fields of expertise and to compile all the potential applications of blockchain in the aviation domain and create joint standards for its use. The potential participants include software developers, aircraft manufacturers, MRO service providers, logistics providers, lessors and regulators.
MRO is a significant cost for a company. Most industries still manually record MRO data. Blockchain will not only bring transparency into the system but will help companies better track maintenance data. It will also help in better analytics for calculation of a product’s life cycle and will provide improved insights to MRO companies.
The greater the blockchain-MRO integration, the more the industry will see the extensive use of blockchain in tracking critical supply chain parameters, component quality, asset maintenance; preventing counterfeit products; and enhancing digital marketplaces.