Lufthansa Technik boosts Nokia network, pulls Voda version – lockdown legacy for private 5G
Germany-based aircraft services provider Lufthansa Technik has said its private 5G standalone (SA) trial network from Nokia, deployed at its facility in Hamburg, has been made into a permanent fixture. The local 5G setup – in trial mode for more than a year, and well documented in these pages – has been used to stream virtual inspections of engine parts to civil aviation customers.
A second trial network, from Vodafone, also signed-off as a “successful” proof-of-concept, was closed down some months ago, as the Lufthansa group curtailed non-critical workloads during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Nokia use case, by contrast, helped the business through lockdown by enabling customers to attend engine inspections remotely, without travelling to Hamburg. It uses Nokia’s ‘digital automation cloud’ (DAC) solution.
Lufthansa Technik said the ‘virtual table inspection’ (VTI) setup, allowing airline clients to communicate over a 5G feed with engine mechanics in Hamburg, so dismantled parts can be jointly inspected and maintenance decisions can be jointly taken, has now been integrated into the company’s digital AVIATAR fleet management solution. AVIATAR combines fleet management, data analytics, and engineering expertise in a range of maintenance services.
Stephan Drewes, chief information officer at Lufthansa Technik, said: “During the past year, the Nokia 5G private wireless network enabled us to provide uninterrupted virtual inspection service to our aircraft engine services customers – without a single minute of unpredicted downtime. Based on this outstanding experience, we have decided to promote the initial test case to a permanent AVIATAR product offering.
“By deploying the pilot immediately prior to the pandemic, the Virtual Table Inspection use case was a very timely solution to travel restrictions, with 5G helping the test case evolve quickly from trial to business-critical infrastructure. Going forward, we anticipate that VTI will become the default method of inspection for some customers, while others will also employ a hybrid model that combines remote and in-person inspection.”
Raghav Sahgal, president of Nokia’s cloud and network services division, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the business value of digitalization, with companies that are more advanced in their digital transformation demonstrating greater levels of flexibility and resilience. Through Lufthansa Technik’s pioneering application of private wireless networking, it has illustrated the potential of 5G to improve productivity, and transform the customer experience in even the most challenging circumstances.”
For a full writeup of Lufthansa Technik’s twin private 5G setups, and the relative successes of both, download the Enterprise IoT Insights report on Industrial 5G SLAs here, or browse recent posts here.