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ST Engineering to trial drones for aircraft inspection with Air NZ; in tie-up to be repair centre for Honeywell parts

ST Engineering repair solutions.jpg
As Honeywell's channel partner, ST Engineering will be using Honeywell’s technologies and software solutions to provide a one-stop component repair and overhaul services for operators worldwide, the engineering firm said.

ST ENGINEERING'S aerospace arm has entered into respective partnerships with Air New Zealand and Honeywell.

Air New Zealand and ST Engineering are teaming up to trial the use of drones to inspect aircraft, while ST Engineering will act as a licensed repair centre for Honeywell components.

The Air New Zealand partnership will see the airline using an unmanned drone system developed by ST Engineering.

Called DroScan, the drone takes a planned route around the outside of an aircraft to inspect its surface and produce high definition images. These images are processed using a software with smart algorithms to detect and classify defects, which aircraft engineers can review and confirm, or carry out further inspection for defects if required, said the engineering firm.

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The drone inspection trials will take place at Air New Zealand's facility next to Changi Airport, where its aircraft undergo heavy maintenance checks.

"Using a drone to inspect our aircraft will save time, taking around one to two hours, compared to up to six – depending on aircraft type – which means repairs can start sooner if needed, and our aircraft will be able to get back in the air more quickly," said Air New Zealand chief ground operations officer Carrie Hurihanganui.

"We’ve trialled using DroScan on a number of our aircraft undergoing maintenance inspections in Singapore now and believe using a drone will also help improve inspection quality. In future, there may be an opportunity to use the device in New Zealand, for example to conduct ad hoc inspections after lightning strikes," she added.

Both companies are also collaborating to manufacture 3D-printed replacement interior parts, and in the area of data analytics to optimise maintenance activities.

Under the Honeywell agreement, ST Engineering becomes an official member of the Honeywell Channel Partner network, and will have access to Honeywell’s maintenance documents and technical support for over 2,000 individual part numbers from avionics to electrical and mechanical components.

As a channel partner, ST Engineering will be using Honeywell’s technologies and software solutions to provide one-stop component repair and overhaul services for operators worldwide, said ST Engineering.

ST Engineering shares were down 1.22 per cent or S$0.05 at S$4.06 as at 11.26am.