GE, Waygate Partner On AI-Powered Engine Inspections

Technician performing a borescope inspection
Credit: Waygate Technologies

GE Aerospace and non-destructive testing specialist Waygate Technologies are partnering to advance engine inspection methods. The companies have signed a joint technology development agreement to develop software and hardware inspection solutions for commercial aircraft engines.

The agreement is aimed at improving the efficiency, accuracy and quality of video borescope inspections, while also minimizing costs for MRO providers. The companies will also explore the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) within borescope inspections, which could improve reliability, cycle time and consistency of inspections.

“With the growth of MRO demand, there is an increasing need for the highly skilled task of engine-level inspection,” says Nicole Tibbetts, chief manufacturing engineer at GE Aerospace. “We are excited about this collaboration with Waygate Technologies and are focused on solutions that will have a significant impact on quality, cost and turnaround time for engine work scopes and on-wing maintenance.”

Michael Domke, general manager visual at Waygate Technologies, highlighted the benefit of GE Aerospace’s experience as an engine OEM and maintenance provider. “It is a great pairing when you combine [GE Aerospace’s] capability with Waygate Technologies’ expertise providing state-of-the-art borescope solutions, advanced 3D measurement and AI technologies connected to digital inspection data management,” he says.

Both companies have recently explored the use of AI for maintenance inspections. At MRO Americas in April, GE Aerospace subsidiary OC Robotics launched an AI-powered Advanced Blade Inspection Tool for on-wing inspections of GEnx engines. GE estimates the technology can reduce inspection time from approximately 3-4 hr. to 30-45 min. It is also using AI in Singapore for improved fluorescent penetrant inspections and robotics-powered CFM56 airfoil inspections.

Last year, Waygate Technologies partnered with startup Aiir Innovations, which uses AI to shorten borescope inspections of jet engines. Aiir Innovations’ technology detects defects, counts the number of engine blades that have been observed and performs speed analysis on blades. The startup says the technology reduces inspections by approximately 4 hr. and enables detection of 150% more relevant findings than human inspectors.

GE and Waygate have not yet responded to Aviation Week’s requests for comment about how these technologies will be leveraged through the partnership. 

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, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.