Development of information support solutions for complex technical systems using eMaintenance
Abstract: Deployment and use of complex technical systems are common in society and in industry. Many of the complex technical systems have stringent requirements on safety, dependability and cost, which necessitate frequent updates and modification in response to new developments in technology and changing functional requirements. Hence, correct, role-adapted, situation-adapted, context-adapted and timely information and information support, is crucial to access, manage, maintain and improve the required services to be provided by these systems. Given the technological development and the changing business environment, system and support providers need to improve the design and provision of information support solutions. This can be facilitated by the utilisation of new and innovative Information & Communication Technology (ICT), manifested in emerging approaches such as eMaintenance. However, there is still a need of methodologies and tools that enable the development and provision of support information services by an integration of business and maintenance processes at both customers and providers to achieve novel business solutions such as Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) in the context described above. Hence, the purpose of this research is to describe how providers of support solutions can develop and provide effective information support solutions related to complex technical systems by enhanced utilisation of ICT. To fulfil this purpose, a single case study within military aviation was performed. Empirical data was collected through interviews, observations, archival records, workshops and action research. The analysis was based on existing, adapted and developed theories, model-based simulations and available international standards, considering an eMaintenance framework. The results of the research are: I) a definition of system-oriented, service-oriented, process-oriented and lifecycle oriented eMaintenance solutions; II) an identification of critical information and information support requirements of customers and providers while implementing e-maintenance; III) an identification of ICT-related methodologies and technologies suitable to fulfil the information support requirements of customers and providers; and IV) an approach for development and provision of ICT-based information support solutions that satisfy the requirements of customers and providers. Even though these results are achieved within the context of a modern military aircraft, the results throughout the research process indicate that they to a large extent are generic in nature and can be applicable to other complex technical systems within the process, power generation and transportation industries as well.
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