8tree Pursues Service Network for Smaller Aftermarket Players

Credit: 8tree

Aircraft inspection technology provider 8tree is looking to cater to smaller players in the MRO sector by starting to build a service provider network that will make its tools more attainable across the aftermarket. It has begun rolling out early pilot trials with worldwide partners and hopes to have its first certified service providers operating by the middle of 2021.

According to 8tree cofounder and CEO Arun Chhabra, as more of the industry as embraced its dentCHECK 3D inspection tool, the company has noticed a “long tail of the aviation aftermarket,” including smaller MROs and airlines as well as general and business aviation operators. “There’s a lot of activity happening there and they suffer from the same problems of damage assessment, but they don’t necessarily have the budgets and the resources to do all of this themselves,” he says. “But they do want the benefit of more accuracy, consistency and digitization.”

Chhabra says the vision is to enable smaller MROs or operators to benefit from dentCHECK’s efficient damage mapping and reporting without needing to purchase the tool themselves. “Rather, they can approach a network of pre-selected, pre-trained and pre-certified service providers worldwide and obtain that benefit as they would any other service,” he says.

Chhabra notes that 8tree is engaging and partnering with “really well recognized names in the global aviation service industry,” including key organizations that bring together airlines and MROs. These include an OEM he calls “the biggest brand in business aviation,” which became an 8tree customer in late 2019 and which has expressed interest in spreading the technology across its global network.

In addition to pursuing the growth of a global service network, 8tree has introduced online training for new customers in place of what was previously a two-day, in-depth, on-site training class. Created as a response to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Chhabra says the online training has received positive feedback so far and he expects the virtual model may “pave the path to much more efficient customer interaction” even after the pandemic is over.

Earlier this year 8tree also launched its panoLite solution at MRO Middle East. It builds on 8tree’s previous dentCHECK pano tool, which provides a real-time stitched pattern of larger surface areas to create a digital panorama, but is designed to fit into existing maintenance workflows. Based on customer feedback, 8tree decided to retool the concept so that the same functionality can be provided through the use of an existing dentCHECK scanner—rather than relying on an external projector—and reusable coded measuring tape. Chhabra says that once a large surface area such as a hail-damaged wing is gridded up with the tape, the dentCHECK tool can be used to capture scans that are then stitched together in the right order using the tape as a reference to show the true distance between damage spots.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for AviationWeek.com, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.