09 Jan

The Importance of Keeping Your Software Updated

Software Test Screen ShotDoes your business test aircraft components for flight worthiness? If so, it’s likely that you’re familiar with standard test equipment and it’s software. Three of the most common questions that our service engineers run into from software customers are: Why should I update my software? How do I know when it’s time to update my software? And how do I do it? We try to answer each of those questions in this article.

Component Maintenance Manuals

It probably helps to have a bit of background regarding why software needs to be updated at all. When the manufacturer of an aircraft component makes an update to it’s Component Maintenance Manual (CMM), the equipment used to test it must also reflect this change. It should be easy to tell which CMM your software is written to. In the header files of any software from Avtron, for example, there will be an indicator stating the CMM number, CMM version, and CMM date of that software. If this doesn’t match up with the most up-to-date CMM from the component manufacturer, you’re due for an update.

CMM Changes

Changes to a CMM can range from minor to extensive changes in testing procedures. New CMMs may come with new testing software, bug fixes, improved processes, more detailed instructions, or any combination of these. Avtron always recommends that you test to the most current CMM. This will ensure that you are following all the latest and greatest testing procedures.

Another important note about Component Maintenance Manuals is that they include a standard troubleshooting guide for your equipment. New CMM versions may come complete with updated or improved guides, which will help your engineers if they run into issues. Newer editions of troubleshooting guides also reflect any new problems that the manufacturer has observed or fixed since the last CMM revision.

Staying Up To Date

How will you know when the CMM for a given flight component is updated? Well, that part gets complicated. Every company has a different process detailing how to handle the communication of CMM updates. Some manufacturers will notify you with regularity, others may only notify you when a change is made, and some still may not notify you at all. Your business’ quality department should have a standard procedure in place to ensure that your software remains up to date.

So what should you do when you find out that your CMM is not up to date? If you’re an Avtron customer, the process is pretty simple. All you need to do is contact our support engineers using the new portal on our website. The portal allows you to submit your information and receive an assigned case number from our support group. The system will also send you an email confirmation and alert our engineers of your request. Our team will then reach out to you to determine the extent of work required on your equipment.

Hopefully, this article answered any questions you may have had regarding software updates on aviation test equipment. Can you share any success stories or useful advice from your experiences? Leave a comment below or tweet us @AvtronAerospace.

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26 Dec

7 Questions to Ask When Considering a Test Stand Upgrade

Hydraulic Test StandWhen working with older hydraulic or generator test stands, your company might begin thinking about upgrading to new equipment. The best thing to do before making a decision is to make an honest assessment of your current equipment with your team. These seven questions should help you in the process.

1. Is your software still supported?

This goes without saying. Outdated software could lead to bugs in the future or incorrect data being returned by your system. In a worst-case scenario, unsupported software could lead to an entire system failure.

2. Is any of your hardware obsolete?

Obsolescence of parts is an important thing to consider when thinking towards the future. Is there a new part taking the place of the one you’re currently using? Would a replacement still be available should it ever break or fail? Have you considered the high cost of trying to source older, outdated parts?

3. How easy is the equipment to use?

Ease of use of equipment is vital to the ongoing success of your organization. Is training new employees a hassle, or is the equipment so old that its use isn’t fully understood? How up-to-date is the training available for this model?

4. Can it test modern parts?

Is your test stand able to work with all of the UUTs you need it to? Are there new UUTs that your test stand is unable to handle?

5. Is your equipment prone to issues?

Have you had sporadic issues with your test stand recently? Have you faced chronic downtime or regular issues requiring engineering work?

6. Have you planned for the advancement of technology?

As technology advances, does your company have a plan for testing it? Will your test stand be able to work with newer technology?

7. How long will it last?

Ask yourself, how much longer can your test stand hold up against continued use? What kind of down time does your company face if the test stand becomes inoperable? What kind of dollar value does that amount to in your industry? It is also important to think about the impact that downtime can have on the trust of your customers and stakeholders.

These are some of the most common questions that decision-making teams have when considering an upgrade in test equipment. Deciding to update your equipment is no easy task, and will likely require months of analysis and discussion. Has your company done an upgrade recently, or replaced some heavy equipment? Let us know in the comments below.

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12 Dec

What is an ISO 9001 Certification?

ISO CertificationWhat is ISO?

ISO, which stands for International Organization for Standardization, is an independent organization that develops voluntary international business standards. These standards are typically consensus-based and created to encourage good business practices. ISO creates numerous different standards for a wide breadth of industries around the world. Standards set forth by ISO are created to ensure that business management systems are effective, trustworthy, and represent a high standard of quality.

Standards are developed by a network of experts, who collaborate based on their specific field experience. ISO details their key principles in standard development here.

What is an ISO 9001 Certification?

In this instance, 9001 is the type of certification and 2008 represents the year the standards were last published. This certification demonstrates a promise by companies to develop and maintain an effective business management system.

Integral to being ISO 9001 certified is the system of checks and balances that must exist to ensure products are delivered properly and consistently.

Who offers certifications?

While the International Organization for Standardization creates various standards through rigorous research and analysis, they do not actually issue certifications. This function is provided by outside organizations, who must become accredited to do so. For example, Avtron has received our certification through Smithers Quality Assessments.

Earning the certification

At a minimum, organizations wanting to earn an ISO 9001 certificate must perform a yearly audit from an accredited auditor. This audit will include an analysis of their business processes and the documentation created to outline them.

Many companies create internal, practice “audits” for themselves to make sure they pass the real one. At Avtron, our method of preparation includes ten or more internal audits that we run ourselves. This way, we are always prepared for the yearly audit and can improve our own standards as the need arises. We tend to adhere to the phrase “say what you do, do what you say.” This means striving to lay out stringent processes for each of our departments, and seeing to it that those processes are followed.

Why should businesses get one?

The value of any ISO certification is that it shows a commitment to continuous improvement, which should result in delivering quality products. Your customers can be confident in knowing your company’s business is focused on customer satisfaction and continual improvement. Striving to earn an ISO certificate reflects a deep commitment to customer satisfaction.

What certifications is your business proud of? Let us know in the comments below.

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