Flying above the Sky: Rolls-Royce Case
Today, a simple jet engine costs 16 million dollars. A transatlantic flight can consume 136,274 liters of fuel, impacting approximately 54,000 dollars per trip. When you keep maintaining the aircraft parked in the base, it can reach hundreds of dollars per hour... Today, we are bringing up to live one of the most incredible business success cases in the IoT space I love. We speak about Rolls-Royce.
Flying from a business opportunity, landing on a challenge and ending up... where it was meant to be
Let's start with a little bit of context. Our well-known for its luxury cars company has one of the most tech innovation demanding businesses of our economies — aircraft engine manufacturing. This type of unknown industry, eclipsed by this postmodern mobile-connected world, has one of the most significant responsibilities of our time. They are one of the largest manufacturers of jet engines in the world, and they are responsible for millions of people's lives, helping billions of individuals to travel safely all around the globe in a year's time.
This sense-of-beauty brand has today more than 13,000 engines operating in our planet. Going from Boeing to Airbus, this company has been offering ongoing customer's engine maintenance services for the past 20 years. Although fuel costs are falling in the market, due to the aircraft industry has been prioritizing that above everything, all airlines are still looking for new ways to decrease costs. Why not giving to them what they are aiming to have.
Turning IoT into a data-fueled business.
Rolls-Royce started to work on IoT projects to increase the fuel efficiency of jet engines, to optimize flight paths, and to improve maintenance. They started to integrate real-time data from air traffic controllers with their track engine health and fuel efficiency data, that is coming from their integrated array of sensors in its manufactured engines and other related products.
The story started to get interesting when that IoT assignment became on massive rapidly data ingestion — Not unexpected, but a little bit overwhelming. Could you imagine the headache? How many sensors have a single aircraft engine? Devices covering everything from the fuel pump to wear and fuel efficiency? So let's make things even more complicated. Let's multiply this by all machines working around the world, sitting in the hands of different RR's customers. Device data coming from those different sources overtook our luxury car company's ability to gain valuable insights and analyze them efficiently. However, their vision was clear, and it was not less than mine gold what they found. They wanted to analyze that data to convert that into proactive maintenance, reduce overall repair and maintenance costs, which allowed them to carry out delays reduction and fuel consumption optimization. How?
Bringing centralization to fly above our heads.
Rolls-Royce took actionable directions building a monitoring solution into is customer support service. They assumed all responsibilities for analyzing the real-time gold-data to manage customer's engine maintenance. They partnered with Microsoft, implemented Azure IoT to collect, orchestrate, and factorize all that overwhelming data from disparate and geographically distributed IoT devices.
Nowadays, they are far beyond what they reached initially: Snapshots of engine performance (sent by planes wirelessly during a flight), downloads of Black-box, technical logs, flight plans, forecast, and accurate weather data provided by third parties.
Today, they are using Azure AI to detect operational irregularities and help customers plan relevant actions through examining data sets and performing data modeling at scale. By analyzing detailed IoT device insights from each pump, comparing it to data models and other pumps in the fleet, and providing an alert that indicates that a specific pump might not be operating well and should be replaced sooner. Can we call this the beginning of Predictive maintenance?
If you would like to know more, check Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace website.