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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 804747, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/804747
Research Article

Integrated Instrumentation and Sensor Systems Enabling Condition-Based Maintenance of Aerospace Equipment

Department of Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School, 47323 Tate Road (Bldg. 2071), Patuxent River NAS, MD 20670, USA

Received 26 February 2012; Accepted 8 August 2012

Academic Editor: Nezih Mrad

Copyright © 2012 Richard C. Millar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The objective of the work reported herein was to use a systems engineering approach to guide development of integrated instrumentation/sensor systems (IISS) incorporating communications, interconnections, and signal acquisition. These require enhanced suitability and effectiveness for diagnostics and health management of aerospace equipment governed by the principles of Condition-based maintenance (CBM). It is concluded that the systems engineering approach to IISS definition provided clear benefits in identifying overall system requirements and an architectural framework for categorizing and evaluating alternative architectures, relative to a bottom up focus on sensor technology blind to system level user needs. CBM IISS imperatives identified include factors such as tolerance of the bulk of aerospace equipment operational environments, low intrusiveness, rapid reconfiguration, and affordable life cycle costs. The functional features identified include interrogation of the variety of sensor types and interfaces common in aerospace equipment applications over multiplexed communication media with flexibility to allow rapid system reconfiguration to adapt to evolving sensor needs. This implies standardized interfaces at the sensor location (preferably to open standards), reduced wire/connector pin count in harnesses (or their elimination through use of wireless communications).