RFID on Aircraft Parts - Industry Initiatives, Testing Standards, and Best Practices for Storing Maintenance History Information Directly on Aircraft Parts
The aerospace industry has long sought a solution for storing maintenance history information directly on aircraft parts. In 2005 leading airframe manufacturers determined that passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology presented a unique opportunity to address this industry need. Through the efforts of the Air Transport Association (ATA) RFID on Parts Committee and SAE International testing standards and data specifications are in place to support the broad adoption of passive RFID for storing parts history information directly on aircraft parts. The primary focus of the paper will be on the SAE AS-5678 environmental testing standard for passive RFID tags intended for aircraft use. Detail will be provided to help aerospace manufacturers understand their role and responsibilities for current programs and understand how this may impact their parts certification process.
Probabilistic methods are used in calculating composite part design factors for, and are intended to conservatively compensate for worst case impact to composite parts used on space and aerospace vehicles. The current method to investigate impact damage of composite parts is visual based upon observation of an indentation. A more reliable and accurate determinant of impact damage is to measure impact energy. RF impact sensors can be used to gather data to establish an impact damage benchmark for deterministic design criteria that will reduce material applied to composite parts to compensate for uncertainties resulting from observed impact damage. Once the benchmark has been established, RF impact sensors will be applied to composite parts throughout their life-cycle to alert and identify the location of impact damage that exceeds the maximum established benchmark for impact.