Pratt & Whitney at inflection point

April 1, 2015:

  • We’re at the Pratt & Whitney Media Days today and tomorrow. We’ll be posting running information in our usual format of paraphrased synopses for such events.

This is PW’s 90th year.

Panel Discussion: “Big Data”

Lynn Fraga (LF), analytics manager in PW Services Group.

Larry Volz (LV), VP and chief information officer.

Matthew Bromberg (MB), president of PW aftermarket unit, providing MRO services, parts customer support.

MB: Big Data is a buzzword in the industry that has mixed connotations and emotions. PW has been in data monitoring business for decades. 13,000 engines have monitoring systems. We are accelerating and doubling down on a challenging path going forward.These are a necessity. We’re at an inflection point. Our business model is changing, our customer base is changing. We have more than 12,000 installed engine but this is our lowest installed customer base.

We are at an inflection point of growing the installed base, with the V2500 and the coming GTF. There are now more V2500s and GTFs in backlog than engines in service.

LV: We’ve made a significant investment in large enterprise global systems. We have large single enterprise platforms in engines, services. We have large investments in data storage systems. We’re moving away from standard data base structures to in-memory systems.

LF: Massive amounts of data does not automatically translate to value. We’re trying to build models to proactively look at solutions, especially to deal with unplanned engine maintenance events to instead be predictive. We’re starting on PW4000 wide body engines with engine health monitoring system. We want to have an early warning system to alert to potential problems to reduce delays and events.

We then want to apply this to the single aisle fleet and the forthcoming GTF. We want to expand our modeling capability to extend time on wing.

MB: A given PW engine will experience an in-flight event once in 100 years (of flying time). We want to do better. We want to capture every parameter from every engine every second. Today we capture 100 parameters. With the GTF it will be 5,000.

We will customize our maintenance for customers.

MB: I can easily see a 50% reduction in in-fight shutdowns. For the public, this will be imperceptible because the engines are so reliable.

  • PW is increasing its data storage capability to petabytes. Here’s what this means:A petabyte is 1015 or 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.One petabyte (abbreviated “PB”) is equal to 1,000 terabytes and precedes the exabyte unit of measurement. A petabyte is slightly less in size than a pebibyte, which contains 1,125,899,906,842,624 (250) bytes.

    Got that?

As an aside:

We were in New York in advance of going to Hartford, and during our visit in NYC, the prospect of Boeing’s choice of materials for the 777X came up and its prospective contract with Alcoa. Boeing hasn’t announced if the fuselage will be standard aluminum or aluminum lithium, though it previously acknowledged to us liberal use of Al Li on the X. We ran into Edward Colvin, VP New Product Development & Introduction, Alcoa, at the PW event and naturally took the opportunity to ask if the fuselage would be Al Li. Colvin and his PR representative, after the proverbial pregnant pause, responded, “You’d have to ask Boeing.”

We understand from our NYC side trip that no definitive deal has been reached, leaving the choice of metals unclear at this time. We understand this choice revolves around commercial issues rather than technical. The choice will ultimately impact costs of building the airplane, maintenance costs later and the economics of the operating costs.

4 Comments on “Pratt & Whitney at inflection point

  1. You could just say a petabyte is ‘only’ the next one up from terabyte. I have a terabyte disk siting on the shelf for backups.

    Its not such a big deal when you say ‘1000’ home backup devices

  2. 1 Petabyte or even multiple of petabytes sounds more impressive than it is from a technical standpoint … single enterprise-level storage array could do this. Been there, done that. The interesting part is not the storage but the capability to process the data and find the needles is this pretty large haystack.

    • Ask the NSA.
      They appear only able to stick information from the past to people they want to blackmail. Nothing predictive.

  3. I wonder how long it will take P&W to catch up with RR (and GE?) on engine health monitoring. It seems years (thick end of 2 decades?) late to only just be starting to do this now

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