Bristow Invests £3.2mn in Tool Control

Energy Voice reports that Bristow Group has introduced the latest Snap-on Industrial Automated Tool Control (ATC) system to its maintenance operations as part of the company’s commitment to safety by reducing the risk of Foreign Object Debris (FOD) being introduced during maintenance.

First Production EC225 G-ZZSA in 2005 (Credit: Airbus Helicopters)

First Production EC225 G-ZZSA in 2005 Operated by Bristow from Aberdeen (Credit: Airbus Helicopters)

Jeremy Cresswell reports:

The ATC Box is fitted with hi-tech camera technology which captures images of its contents, allowing the system to identify whether tools are present or not.

This information is then displayed on a screen on top of the tool kit so that a maintenance engineer is constantly aware of the location of each tool.

Tools are automatically issued and returned without user input and the activity from each toolbox is streamed across the company network giving administrators real time visibility of all tooling activity.

At a cost of £3.2million Bristow has introduced the technology to the company’s bases in Europe and the US Gulf of Mexico and is in the process of rolling it out across all of its bases across the globe.  This builds on an initiative pioneered at their Aberdeen base in 2009.

All three Aberdeen based helicopter operators have introduced ‘company tools’ and some form of enhanced tool control.  However in the UK it is still common for aircraft maintenance personnel to supply their own tool kits and to rely only on company issued specialist tools.  This makes it far harder to identify when tools are lost.  In one famous example, during a hangar tour a senior manager at an airline picked a tool box at random and asked to see the owner to verify that all the tools were accounted for.  To everyone’s general embarrassment it was found the engineer who owned the tool box had passed away several years earlier…

UPDATE 28 May 2016: From Australia Rotor Blade Tool Control FOD Incident

UPDATE 12 February 2017: Flying Control FOD: Screwdriver Found in C208 Controls

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