Since the first Bristol Box Kite took flight in 1910, the area of Filton near Bristol has continued to be associated with aviation. Now home to aircraft wing manufacturers Airbus UK, the site is still at the forefront of the aviation world, pushing back boundaries in an industry that is characterised by change. In August 2002, the first UK metal for the A380 'superjumbo' was cut at Filton – a significant milestone in the production of Airbus's flagship programme for the 21st Century.
Whilst FSI's relationship with Airbus does not go back as far as 1910, it is, in modern terms, no less significant. Perhaps it's no surprise that the company that pioneered the now commonplace fly-by-wire technology on aircraft was also looking at CAFM systems as early as the late eighties. After moving from a paper-based system the company had used another CAFM package for about seven years. When this relationship ended, the company, under the guidance of experienced Performance and Planning Engineer, Dave Tayler, was faced with a bewildering array of CAFM packages to assess.
Dave Tayler takes up the story; "After refining down the choice to a dozen packages, FSI's ConceptTM was selected from a range of three systems. We chose it because it was Windows based, had email compatibility and ultimately for a site as large as Filton, was compatible with our infrastructure."
Today, Airbus uses ConceptTM 500 for a variety of maintenance tasks across the 144-acre site which is made up of 142 buildings (likely to increase) and employing 5000 personnel on Airbus alone. Another seven closely related companies also have their base at Filton. The way in which users can log on wherever they are on site and still get the personalised set up from the system has been essential. Maintenance tasks are classified into three separate areas; scheduled, breakdown and run-time.
Other areas that receive the ConceptTM treatment are the fire alarm infrastructure, security access and health and safety checks, all of which have a PPM (planned preventative maintenance) structure governing them. As the relationship grows and strengthens, more areas of the Filton site are starting to see the benefits of ConceptTM.
As a previous user of Concept 300, Airbus was concerned about the retention of the history within the system during the transition from version 300 to 500. "Concerns were ill founded and the change gave the company the opportunity to capitalise upon the advantages offered by ConceptTM 500", says Dave Tayler. The fact that ConceptTM is used at the Airbus site not only in Filton but also at the other main site in Broughton, Cheshire, says a lot about the capability of the system and the backup behind it. Users find it easy to work with, and locally based companies such as RAC and Frenchay Hospital have seen what it can do in large complex sites and requested more information on the benefits of CAFM for their own FM outsourcing operations.
"Don't expect the same structures in place within our CAFM operation this time next year" advises Dave. The company is driven by new technology and the desire to lead the field – in whatever it's doing. "We're very keen to look at fault analysis as there's always been a strong requirement at Airbus for reporting such areas" comments Dave.
So what are the main benefits of the FSI system? For Dave Tayler the capability to have individual user configuration is a key plus point, and as downtime is critical on a site such as this, the ability to monitor the status of any job at any time is crucial, not just desirable. As Dave settles into the rather grand title of Master User, it seems that all things are possible.