068 – “Slam Sticks Accelerating Maintenance”

Author: Stephen Hanly
Company: Mide Technology
Phone: (781) 306-0609
Email: shanly@mide.com

Slam Stick was developed for the Navy under the DoD Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) ONR BAA RIF 11-023 and provides engineers a cost-effective wireless vibration, temperature, and atmospheric pressure data logger that can be used anywhere in the world to quickly identify system problems.

Instrumentation at this quality level was previously only available in expensive large data acquisition systems costing tens of thousands of dollars and found in test squadrons and laboratories. This capability is now available for use at a fraction of the cost and can be used by Fleet Maintainers and engineers around the globe to help solve fleet issues.

The Slam Stick family of sensing systems are at TRL-9 and are being sold to industry around the world. Currently over 6,000 sensing systems have been sold including 2,000 to the F/A-18 Program Office.

In July of 2016, Slam Sticks were installed on several F/A-18 aircraft Environmental Control System (ECS) components to test and troubleshoot issues relating to cockpit pressure. Because of that testing, Slam Sticks have been chosen as the sensor of choice and has been integrated into F/A-18 Automated Maintenance Environment (FAME) reporting system. This integration into FAME allows squadrons maintainers to instantly download Slam Stick data and view the recorded cockpit pressure of any flight. To date, over 2,000 Slam Stick devices are in use across F/A-18 Fleet. Slam Stick has also been used to troubleshoot a C-2 aircraft at FRCSW on two separate occasions. NASA Armstrong and other maintenance/test activities are also using it across the DoD to cost-effectively enhance testing capability. Slam Stick can be used by O-D maintainers to troubleshoot aircraft in a way that was previously unavailable. Its only limitation is that that engineers and maintainers are unaware that it exits, so it is only being utilized to a fraction of its potential.

Savings realized is over $10 million (10,000 flights) for F/A-18 alone to date. It is estimated that hundreds of millions more in maintenance savings can been realized across the NAE/DoD enterprise when compared to the cost of using conventional test instrumentation (based off $5,000 saving compared to installing conventional test equipment). Slam Stick can be used anywhere in the world by DoD and industry sustainment engineers to quickly understand, analyze, and solve specific Fleet vibration, temperature, or pressure issues on equipment such as: aircraft, tanks, submarines, avionics, and depot/industry machinery.

If funds can be obtained, future Slam Stick efforts will support the creation of a DoD Job Performance Aid (JPA) that will document Slam Stick use and highlight success stories, and also send Slam Sticks to other DoD maintainers and engineering activities for evaluation of the new capability; a “try before you buy” approach.” Slam Stick used broadly across the DoD would improve Time On Wing (TOW) and achieve substantial cost avoidance.