In the aviation industry, having a preventative maintenance (PM) program in place can mean the difference between smooth skies or catastrophic failure. After all, your service is only as reliable as the support equipment that keeps your planes flying.
There are countless ways that preventative maintenance can help your business run smoothly by avoiding downtime and the costly expenses related to it.
What Is Preventative Maintenance?
Technically put, preventative maintenance is the scheduled inspection of equipment and machinery to detect potential problems and correct them before equipment failure occurs. Preventive maintenance includes tasks such as running tests, taking measurements, cleaning, lubrication, adjustments, repairs, replacing parts, and partial or complete overhauls that are regularly scheduled.
It is always important to have an experienced technician regularly inspect process equipment. Monitoring all of your equipment, from jacks to GPU’s to engine slings and lifts, can help to avoid a potentially catastrophic failure.
Preventative Maintenance Vs. Reactive Repairs
The major difference between preventative maintenance and reactive repairs is the timing of a repair. Under the PM approach, potential issues are handled before they turn into substantial problems. With reactive maintenance, repairs don’t happen until a problem or failure occurs. Oddly enough, reactive repairs are more widely used than preventative maintenance programs.
Preventative maintenance is designed to maintain the best working condition of equipment, thereby helping to prevent a failure. Having a preventative maintenance program means that equipment and machinery are inspected, repaired and maintained on a strict schedule. This allows a business to make repairs on their own timetable rather than running equipment until a breakdown disrupts operations. It also helps to avoid violations and accidents while keeping machinery in operation.
When taking the reactive repairs approach, maintenance tasks are performed when equipment fails. Machinery and equipment are only fixed when an incident has occurred that disrupts production and/or if the equipment can’t be used safely anymore. This approach can be very expensive, as the immediate and sudden downtime leads to paying current market prices for parts, as well as idle machinery and employees (through no fault of their own).
Reactive repairs are disorganized compared to scheduled and planned preventative maintenance programs. Eventually, having a successful PM schedule will reduce the need for reactive repairs.
Preventative Maintenance for Jacks
Routine preventive maintenance can considerably extend the life of your jacks. FlyTek’s in-depth methods go beyond simple inspections of tailstands and stabilizing pins. Because some modern jacks are designed with advanced technological components, our technicians know and understand the equipment. Here are a few of the items that should be checked during jack maintenance:
- Pump Inspection – Both hand and pneumatic pumps need inspection before use, looking for leaks, hose obstructions and relief valve settings to name a few.
- Locknuts – The surfaces of locknuts tend to be knotty, making them somewhat difficult to operate. Locknuts should be inspected prior to every use.
- Raising / Lowering Aircraft – It is good practice to run a jack completely up and down before it is placed under an aircraft. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedure for raising and lowering any aircraft.
- Storage – Jacks should always be covered when in storage to prevent damage to the ram piston assembly.
Whether you’re working with axle, tripod, or collapsible jacks, our technicians can keep them in excellent working condition. Our goal is to have your jacks ready and available to perform when you need them.
PM for Engine Slings and Lifts
When inspecting your engines, it’s critical that your engine lift is in tip top shape. Preventative maintenance for engine slings and lifts can include inspections for the following:
- The engine sling isn’t missing parts;
- The joints, pins, and shackles are all in working order;
- The bolts and belts are fastened tightly;
- There’s no wear compromising the straps, bars, and hoist points;
- The structure itself isn’t cracked or worn.
Preventive Maintenance for Ground Power Units
Though there are few moving parts on your average ground power unit (GPU), maintenance of this equipment is still critical.
Inspecting and cleaning a GPU’s internal components — the motor, nuts, bolts, cables, and plugs — can reduce the amount of energy used and increase the overall efficiency of the unit.
Preventative Maintenance for Hydraulic Power Units
These large, complex machines are integral to the successful operation of any aviation company. What’s more, most equipment manufacturers have found that the majority of problems arising from hydraulic power units (HPU) are due to improper or incomplete maintenance.
HPU’s are subject to a variety of threats such as contamination from dirt and grime, oxidation, and thermal degradation. Regular inspection and maintenance of your HPUs can save money over the long haul.
The Benefits of Hiring Outside for Preventive Maintenance
When you’re in an industry that essentially requires you to keep a mechanic or two on staff, it can be tempting to have all preventative maintenance tasks as part of their duties. However, this could be a mistake. While an onsite mechanic may know your planes and aviation equipment, hiring an outside team of professionals whose main focus is handling preventative maintenance for ground support equipment could be in your best interest.
Our professionals use a variety of specialized diagnostic equipment to pinpoint issues before failures occur. Because our focus is on preventative maintenance for ground support equipment and our staff performs PM tasks every day, our expertise can save you time and money.
Superior Preventative Maintenance Services
FlyTek Labs specializes in every facet of preventative maintenance and repair of ground support equipment. We provide top-notch service from the most experienced technicians in the industry.
Located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, FlyTek Labs is passionate about helping your aviation enterprise succeed. We offer the industry’s most comprehensive preventative maintenance for your ground support equipment and our services are always expanding.
The quality of our work and our dedication to our customers gives us an edge as an industry leader. Call FlyTek Labs today to learn more about our superior preventative maintenance services.