Aircraft electrical wiring systems can be complicated, but new tools are helping maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities quickly and easily obtain the materials in the case of an aircraft on ground (AOG) situation.
Mentor Graphics is taking an interesting approach to assisting MROs with wire harness repairs that require a quick turnaround time. In June it added a new piece of software to its electrical wiring harness Design suite, Capital, which system and subsystem engineers use to describe the logical definition of electrical system architecture. The new product, Capital Publisher, provides the design data about an aircraft’s wiring system to technicians for aftermarket support.
A Co-Operative Industries repair station technician performs a final inspection on a repaired wiring harness before its return to service.
Capital Publisher leverages the data that airframe manufacturers already use when they design their harness systems with the other pro-grams in the Capital suite: Capital Logic, for creating wiring schematics; Capital Integrator, for developing the architecture of the cabling in an aircraft; and Capital HarnessXC, which allows the engineers to develop the final harness design.
John Low, aerospace business development manager at Mentor Graphics, says that designing electrical systems in aircraft with maintenance needs in mind is driving the need for companies to upgrade their methods of gathering data about these systems to prevent maintenance events.
“There are a lot of things you can do on the design side to help with the maintenance,” says Low, who explains that new aircraft designs are causing new maintenance challenges that can be alleviated by carefully planning electrical systems. As engineers move away from paper plans in favor of computer aided design software, that data can be saved easily for use in maintenance later on.
“The traditional mechanical systems are going away and getting replaced with electrical systems,” says Low. “You’re starting to get a critical mass where it’s getting really important now to start looking at things like electromagnetic interference and compatibility.”
Capital Publisher captures all of the important data that maintenance technicians would need to know for a specific aircraft, which ends up being a combination of mechanical and electrical data. Electronic data allows the technician to run diagnostic tests on the harness system and the mechanical information tells them where to start.
For example, a technician could use the documents that Capital Publisher collects-which could be 3D wiring diagrams, photographs, reports or bills of materials to figure out where to start looking for a repair. Because these important documents tell the technician which avionics boxes, fiber optic networks, connectors and wires of a certain gauges are in each individual aircraft, he or she can quickly diagnose problems and faults, such as interrogating a wire to find a voltage drop between two points.
Although airframe manufacturers have taken huge strides to change harness designs to make maintenance easier, challenging repairs remain. That’s why companies like Co-Operative Industries have found a niche helping large MROs take care of heavy maintenance on wire systems for engines, landing gear, conduits and harnesses.
Dave Wright, VP of product and business development for Co-Operative Industries, says his repair business is largely comprised of its revenue. Although Co-Operative is an OEM of wiring harnesses, it finds good business in repairing wiring from other manufacturers as well as its own products.
“The repair market within our organization is one of the fastest-moving and probably the quickest-increasing sector of our business,” says Wright.
Co-Operative Industries is an AS9100 facility to manufacture and design wiring harnesses, cable, ignition leads and flexible conduits. Its repair station is certified by the FAA, EASA and CAAC and provides customers such as Delta TechOps with check and testing of accessories, repair harnesses and cables for GE’s, GE90 and CF6-80C engines, the CFM International CFM56-5A/5B/5C/7B models and the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 QEC.
For additional information on Co-Operative Industries Aerospace or the services offered, please contact:
Co-Operative Industries Aerospace & Defense
1401 South Cherry Lane
Fort Worth, TX 76108