Predictive maintenance can be a game changer - A chat with Marcia Baptista

Safety & security seed project in the spotlight

News - 02 April 2023

With its seed funding program, the TU Delft Safety & Security Institute aims to increase the impact of safety & security research and education at TU Delft and to strengthen the position of TU Delft in this field. In this series of 'coffee chats', we talk to seed project leaders to find out what is happening.

Why did you submit a seed project proposal on predictive maintenance?

Safety is a top priority for the aviation industry. Predictive maintenance is a novel approach to maintenance, deeply rooted in the techniques from Prognostics and Health Management (PHM). This approach aims to predict the state of an engineering system ahead of time. This can be a game changer in the prevention of aviation accidents, but also the enhancement of comfort and sustainability.

For example, a poorly maintained air conditioning system of an aircraft may not comprise safety in a critical manner, but it will surely have a detrimental effect on the comfort of the passengers. Poorly maintained equipment, such as the aircraft engine or the landing gear, can also lead to sustainability issues, as more pollution is created and more waste (e.g., fuel). Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, to give another example, can pose a serious safety risk when their battery state is not managed correctly. A non-anticipated battery discharge can lead to a safety collision or a mission abortion. Prognostics and Health Management may play a significant role here. It helps to reduce waste (by elongating the life of the batteries) and reduces safety risks.

Thus, it is important to optimize the operations of maintenance and repairing systems in aviation.

As part of your seed project, you are organizing a seminar series. What is the idea behind it?

It can help show the importance of the field of Prognostics and Health Management and the connected field of Predictive Maintenance. The idea is threefold: education & awareness, knowledge development, and the establishment of a strong network that connects research with industry, together with partners such as KLM and Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR).

It is important for students to gain acquaintance with these new techniques for maintenance. It is also important to connect researchers in their future lines of work (proposals, collaborations, collaborative master thesis, internships).

We have a series of speakers, leaders in their fields. Each speaker brings its own expertise and perspective on Predictive Maintenance that can complement and advance the education and research catalogue that we already have at TU Delft.

What disciplines are involved in your seed project?

We are organizing the seminar series together with Aaron Ding from the Cyber-Physical Intelligence (CPI) Lab (Faculty of EEMCS) and Daan Schraven from Materials, Mechanics, Management & Design (3Md) at the Faculty of CEG.

What has been done and what is to come?

Two seminars have taken place already, one live and the other online. The first was on the theory and applications of Proportional Hazards Modelling (February 2023) and the second on Maintenance in Prognostics and Health Management (March 2023).

On the agenda are seven more seminars, taking place in 2023 and 2024. The next one is on 21 April.

How can the TU Delft S&S community help you?

You can help disseminate the seminars and promote the videos of the seminars. Together we can raise awareness about the importance of predictive maintenance and PHM.

When will you look back at this series happy and with contentment?

When these seminars serve to develop knowledge and increase the network on these important issues and if I get to know more people and organizations, learn more, and do better research, I am happy.