The Aviation Services Research Centre (ASRC), co-founded by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and The Boeing Company (Boeing), enters into a new phase today, with the opening of the newly built centre in Block X of the PolyU campus. The five-year renewal of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, to the ASRC today again facilitates the partnership and collaborative effort to position Hong Kong as the leading world-class service provider of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) for the region.
PolyU also signed a Letter of Intent with Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co., Ltd (GAMECO), a leading MRO service provider in the Mainland and the region, which marks a milestone of MRO industry in the Mainland joining ASRC.
Research services well-received and supported by the industry
The opening ceremony of the ASRC new research facilities in Block X was hosted by Chairman of Council, PolyU, Mr Chan Tze-ching and PolyU President Prof. Timothy W. Tong; and officiated by Mr Carlson Tong, Chairman of the University Grants Committee; Professor Benjamin Wah, Chairman of Research Grants Council; Mr Dennis Floyd, Vice President for Strategy, Boeing Global Services, The Boeing Company; Mr Angus Barclay, Director and General Manager, Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Limited (HAESL); Mr Augustus Tang, Chief Executive Office, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd. (HAECO); and Mr Clemens Ziegler, Director of Business Development Component, Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co., Ltd (GAMECO).
“Our valued and trusted partners have been key to our success,” said Mr Dennis Floyd, Vice President for Strategy, Boeing Global Services. “While Boeing has had the privilege of partnering with China for more than 40 years, the history of cooperation between Boeing and China’s aviation industry traces back a century ago.”
“The Aviation Services Research Centre of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University will continue to lead the way in aerospace innovation,” Mr Floyd said. “The young minds working in this facility will be at the forefront of aerospace transformation for the second century.”
Chairman of Council, PolyU, Mr Chan Tze-ching, said, “Backed by advanced facilities and top-notch expertise at our Industrial Centre, the ASRC researchers have turned innovations into practical use. They have delivered new automation technologies of aviation maintenance procedures, which lead to better service quality, streamlined workflow, reduced costs, raised safety standards, and hence overall competitiveness for the industry. I believe that with more partnerships and collaborations, we will better serve the needs of the ever-increasing demand of the aviation industry.”
He added, “The cutting edge research and engineering facilities specially dedicated to the ASRC in this re-developed building will further support the delivery of the new technologies. We can surely expect a win-win-win scenario, which PolyU, our partners and the Hong Kong aviation industry as a whole will all benefit.”
Serving the industry with notable achievements
Since its establishment in 2012, the ASRC has successfully developed modernized solutions to improve MRO performance in areas such as cost, schedule, quality, and safety. These technological solutions have been implemented in industry, and are now being used by MRO service providers to help improve maintenance activity and overall competitiveness. Whether it is reducing the turnaround time for engine ring seal repair from three days to one, or assessing the adaptive machining for re-profiling of engine blades, the ASRC continues to advance the capabilities and capacities of technical workmanship through automation, modernization and innovation.
ASRC recently completed the Surface Defect Detection and Removal (SDDR) project that developed a robotic technology to scan and analyse the multiple light damages on critical rotating parts of the aircraft, such as compressors or turbine discs. The automation technology involving Artificial Intelligence (AI) will significantly reduce work hours from four hours to 1.5 hours, produce more standardized repairs and reduce the chances of missing any defects.
Future research with newly-added equipment
More than five sets of new equipment, amounting to a cost greater than HK$35million, will be ready for use over the coming years. Research focus will be on the use of (1) 3D scanning and AI to determine replacement or repair of damaged parts; (2) AI for surface repair and reduce unevenness or damage associated with manual repairs; and (3) use of imaging and knowledge about composite to help produce replacement composite parts as a less known material compared with metal.
The opening of the sizable and well-equipped ASRC in Block X and Boeing’s commitment for another five years mark another milestone in the development of ASRC as a paragon of academia-industry collaboration, bringing MRO technology development to a higher level of excellence.
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