While large aircraft manufacturers and airlines are the biggest users of RFID in the aviation market, there are plenty of opportunities for suppliers to use the technology to generate internal improvements.
Some of the most high-profile deployments of RFID technology in the aircraft industry have been with very large suppliers or large airlines. Boeing and Airbus, for example, have both implemented RFID programs for lifetime tracking of specific components as well as for tracking manufacturing processes or providing visibility into their own supply chains. Airlines, likewise, have integrated RFID into their own operations – using these OEM-provided tags to complete the parts traceability cycle.
However, there have been RFID implementations at all levels of the aviation supply chain, and proactive suppliers should educate their executives and other stakeholders about the value of tagging. RFID has proven its value in a number of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) applications for companies up and down the aviation supply chain.
What are some uses of RFID data beyond part marking?
- RFID data can be linked to the bill of materials and manufacturing data/supplier information
- Automatic updates of work order status
- Internal inventory tracking and management
- Improved supply/parts ordering forecasts based on real-time data
- Asset management for vehicles, tooling, and other equipment
- RFID can track tooling usage/duty cycles for maintenance scheduling
- Work-in-process (WIP) tracking
- Tracking returnable conveyances or containers
The use of RFID doesn’t have to be centered on compliance with customer or industry standards. With planning and forethought, an investment in RFID infrastructure can be leveraged to enable a number of other internal and external-facing applications that help increase the return on investment (ROI) of the entire system.
You can read more about RFID in the aerospace supply chain here.
Join the discussion – Do you think there are more applications of RFID in the aviation industry?