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18 September 2003
18. September 2003 Commercial Aircraft

Airbus applies RFID technology to supply of aircraft spare parts

Airbus is introducing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to its supply of aircraft spare parts. This follows the successful introduction of the technology to its aircraft tools supply chain four years ago. RFID technology allows the storage and modification of data on a microchip and the exchange of data with PC or EDP systems.

Together with its industrial partner, eConnective AG, and co-developer of the technology, Fraunhofer Institute, Magdeburg, Germany, Airbus has launched a test phase with the help of a European Airbus operator. This will allow the RFID transponder chip to be used for the first time on civil aircraft spares.

Airbus pioneered the use of the RFID technology in aircraft tool management in 1999. As a result, all Airbus tools with manufacturer serial numbers are now equipped with the microchip for radio frequency identification, offering electronic support for loan and repair management of tools. The microchips are installed on the tools as well as the tool boxes and contain data about the history of the tool as well as shipping, routing and customs information.

It is anticipated that the availability of this ground-breaking technology on aircraft spares parts will significantly help to simplify inventory and repair management of the equipped repairable and rotable spare parts.

One of the major benefits of this new technology for the airlines is a simplified component repair management, where the repair and flight history of the component will be available electronically. The microchip assures the availability and accuracy of vital information and documentation and also allows a comprehensive tracking system. The airlines will further benefit by time saved on trouble shooting, parts inspection, repairs administration and on the whole logistics cycle. This increase in efficiency will contribute to the airlines? bottom line through reduced spares investment needs, higher spares availability rates and simplified administration.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.

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