In a nutshell

Testia delivers live video and audio communication for maintenance assistance, with its Online Maintenance Assistance (OMA) system for worldwide remote support. This is a browser-based platform for live communication between experts and technicians in the field, including remote control capabilities of the client inspection tools.

Why use it?

For maintenance and tests of aircraft, complex inspections are a critical part of the business. Detecting the cause of a problem sometimes takes days and difficult problems require the special knowledge of an expert.

Communication between local inspector and remote expert is usually via telephone and email complemented by sketches and photos. In extreme cases, the expert must provide direct support in-situ at the aircraft or at the test facility. This delays the completion of the inspection and increases the cost dramatically.

Testia’s OMA mobile teleservice system optimizes communication and document sharing between inspector and expert, addressing maintenance problems in a context-driven way and offering time-saving and cost-effective support to remote inspectors.

That means inspectors are helped by real-time audio/video communication and some additional functions while they’re focusing on the given inspection context. Live communication takes place  directly in the place where an issue occurs – such as when the aircraft in the field or in the hangar. This reduces the high incidence of idle time of the usual communication and increase the productivity.

Access to OMA is via a web browser – with no complicated installation of software required. OMA can be used on laptops or tablets, with user access over the internet with any network – like a LAN, Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) or mobile communication networks (EDGE, UMTS and LTE).

Beside inspections, OMA can be used for other maintenance tasks, for support of suppliers, for test support (large scale tests) and for any other task where a direct support is needed on a short and immediate term basis.

Added to that, the system can enable more efficient support of customers, while also being offered as a tool for customers, suppliers and partners to interact across their company and allow employees to support each other.

Background

OMA is designed to assist maintenance of complex industrial equipment. It integrates multimedia documentation with online collaboration.

In an OMA session, an inspector at the maintenance site connects to an expert in a service center. Using a tablet/PC, the inspector is connected to OMA through a wireless connection. A typical scenario is shown in Figure 1.

 

Communication between expert and inspector is based on an Internet and telephone connection. The device used for the inspection can establish this secured connection to the companies’ network over the public mobile communication network or a Wi-Fi which uses the given network connection at the maintenance site. Voice is transmitted by a built in telephone/audio conference system via Voice over IP or the telephone network. Figure 2 shows an example of connection possibilities.

 

Designed and developed as a web application using common and modern web technologies, the OMA application needs no special installation. It does not require special hardware components and can be used with commercial off-the-shelf devices. Testia proposes dedicated hardware solution kits for an optimal user experience with OMA (see Figure 3).

 

All web traffic is secured with HTTPS (SSL) encryption, so critical data cannot be accessed unauthorized by a third party. Web traffic and video data are transported through the TCP/IP ports 80/443, which are usually open to an enterprise’s firewall. OMA users are authenticated with their user credentials obtained from a user database.

Impact

OMA helps technical departments, suppliers and manufactures to cooperate in several areas:

  • Live follow-up of tests
  • Context aware maintenance of complex equipment
  • Damage inspection
  • Remote NDT inspection
  • Structure and material testing
  • Remote data acquisition

OMA remote engineering services

Online collaboration services, audio support and video stream can even be used with EDGE connection data rates. Video quality is adapted according to the inspection situation in a range of low quality video for EDGE or even HD video for faster connections like LTE.

In an OMA session, it’s possible to share camera snapshots. The inspector takes a snapshot locally or the expert can trigger the camera remotely from the PC. After a snapshot is taken, it’s displayed on both sides.

The Whiteboard allows the online manipulation of images in a shared virtual workspace. Important parts of an image can be annotated with pointers and freeform lines. Changes in annotation are transferred to the remote side synchronously and allow solving the problem by interactive cooperation. Previously taken snapshots can be accessed through the interface, too.

In addition, a file manager enable users to upload and share documents such as manuals or inspection procedures with the other users. This makes it possible to avoid emails during an OMA conference. Figure 4 shows the Whiteboard functionality in an active OMA session.

For specific inspections, it’s important to watch measurement operation simultaneously to the associated result on the measurement device. A synchronization gap between the measurement operation video and the result could lead to false information.

Therefore both images are displayed synchronously in a dual video mode (as Figure 5).

The OMA system transfers the video stream in parallel to the camera video of the first camera following the inspector’s activities. This technique makes it possible to capture the video from several devices like:

  • Endoscopes
  • Thermography cameras
  • Shearography systems
  • Radiographs
  • External cameras and screens of an analogue devices

An important feature for visual inspection is the remote control, which gives the expert the possibility to assist the inspector in problems with measuring instruments with Remote Control support. The expert has the option to control a running measuring tool remotely and to observe the results.

About TESTIA

TESTIA is an Airbus Group Company and is present transnationally since more than 20 years in the world of Non-destructive Testing for the aerospace industry. The Testia Group has about 200 employees in within 8 subsidiaries at 4 continents.

TESTIA is a reactive NDT full service provider for all following domains:

  • Training / eLearnings (according to EN4179 / NAS410)
  • Engineering Services
  • Inspections Services for Manufacturing
  • Inspections Services for In-Service
  • NDT Equipment & Tools
  • Reference Standards
  • NDT Consulting
  • Level III Service

TESTIA offers services to aerospace (OEM, Airlines, Repair shops, Structure and Material producers, Military, etc.) and also other industries (Wind, Automobile, for example).

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