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For this weeks discussion post we must give thoughts on with of the processes are more efficient, is it the process-oriented, or is it the task-oriented approach to maintenance. The first thing that must be done, is to get a better understanding of each of these terms, the task-oriented process is “ predetermined maintenance task to avoid in-service failures. Equipment redundancies are sometimes used to allow in-service failures to occur without adversely affecting safety and operation.” (Kinnison & Siddiqui) For process-oriented, certain part and components of the aircraft have certain life limits and once those limits are reach the part is replaced, even if at the time the part is operating just fine, also certain part or areas of the plane have to be watched carefully or inspected often to insure that the part is not showing signs of wear and tear, if so then the part is removed and replaced. When faced with these two choices of which one is the better option, personally I would have to go with process-oriented. The reason is, even though the term “operate to failure” (Kinnison & Siddiqui) might sound like a unsafe thing to do, however that does not mean that the part is not periodically tested or looked at by maintenance personnel, it is simply a process in which the part has reached a point to were the integrity of the part might soon start to be in question, so as a proactive approach they change the part out to better insure the part will operate at peak performance for a longer period of time. Even though that with the task-oriented approach might enable a company or operator to get the most life out of a particular part before it breaks and then being able to switch over to a redundant or secondary system in-order to insure a safe flight, I feel that having backup systems or secondary parts in the chain, just waiting for the primary to give way could easily add up cost wise, because now you have two of the same parts, or more wiring and components added for the system to operate. I feel that this would not really save cost in the short term, also, I have personally seen the secondary system fail or be inop many times when testing the aircraft to make sure that the aircraft switches from primary to secondary.
The “task-oriented” approach to aircraft maintenance is the more efficient approach in comparison to its outdated predecessor, the “process-oriented” approach. The task-oriented approach is also referred to as the Maintenance Steering Group (MSG)-3 method. According to Kinnison and Siddiqui, the MSG-3 is a top-down approach or consequence of failure approach (2013). This top-down approach is analyzed at the highest level of management for entire systems versus looking at each component individually. MSG-3 is not a static method, it is constantly changing and adapting to the advancing technologies and operators’ needs (Gdalevitch, 2000). Furthermore, the next generation of aircraft has designers implementing MSG-3 requirements at the earliest stages or aircraft development.
The MSG-3 approach is all about preventing failures and maintaining high levels of reliability of the aircraft. There are three categories to assign the associated tasks: airframe systems, structural items, and zonal tasks. The airframe systems has 8 task that can be assigned for specific requirements for maintaining a system including anything from lubrication to functional checks. As far as structural inspections, they are assigned based on the stress induced on the structure. For example a helicopter flying in the desert will not need as much visual inspection for corrosion versus a helicopter hovering over the ocean. The zonal task is given to specific zoned areas of the aircraft for checking of general condition and security.
There are many benefits from the task-oriented approach, but the two key benefits from the MSG-3 process is that it is cost effective and it also produces higher safety standards (Gdalevitch, 2000). I truly believe that we as a maintenance industry do more harm than good when it comes to maintenance. Humans are humans and although we have the best intentions and practices in place to prevent error, mistakes will happen as long as we are involved in the evolutions. Studies in human factors have clearly identified a connection between excessive maintenance and maintenance incidents (Gdalevitch, 2000). The MSG-3 approach allows for less frequency of maintenance which trickles down to us as humans interfering with what the aircrafts were designed to do, fly. There seems to be no down side to the MSG-3 approach. While one could argue that high level management doesn’t relate to ground level application, I would disagree for this circumstance. As previously mentioned, the MSG-3 process is ever evolving, taking in improvements from all levels of the maintenance management structure. The time is now, and reliability centered maintenance is the answer. Fly safe, and God bless!
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