History shows a need for accurate, reliable, in-situ monitoring of the structural integrity of airplanes, bridges, pipelines and buildings.
The traditional testing for evaluating the condition of structures has been static and retrospective, using hand-held tools enacted on tested materials. These techniques fall into two broad categories: Condition Monitoring (CM) and Non Destructive Testing (NDT).
Once tested, the structure is assumed to be safe until the next inspection. However, much can occur to the structure before the next test.
Aside from this uncertainty, manual testing is a continuous, re-occurring, labor intensive procedure that is subject to human error and misinterpretation.
Early techniques developed to assist manual inspection included magnetic testing and dye penetration. These techniques were focused on surface defects only. Subsequent techniques such as x-rays, eddy currents, and ultrasonics could detect internal flaws in materials.
The need to be continuously monitoring structures became known as Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), and it is in this category that SMS’s Comparative Vacuum Monitoring (CVM™) technology is the forerunner.
In 1999, Structural Monitoring Systems Ltd (SMS) became owner of CVM™ and began operations in Perth, Western Australia to develop and commercialize the technology.
The parent holding company, Structural Monitoring Systems plc, incorporated in the United Kingdom in 2003 and floated on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in August 2004.
The aviation industry is seen as the perfect application for the CVM™. In the past ten
years, SMS has undertaken multiple programs to gain certification for the use of CVM™ as an accepted method of carrying out periodic and continual maintenance.
2008 – First ever-trial production installation on Boeing aircraft structure in association with Boeing, FAA and airline representatives.
2008 – Airbus accepts CVM™ as “Technology Ready” for inclusion in its commercial aircraft maintenance programs, and present CVM™ to Airbus operator’s structural engineering group.
2008 – Bombardier recognizes CVM™ as having role in reducing their aircraft’s maintenance costs. Large-scale installation of CVM™ sensors on 3 Embraer Full Scale Fatigue Test aircraft rigs.
2009 – FAA / ATA NDT Forum “Better Way” Award—first time ever awarded to an SHM Technology.
2010 – Development and supply of CVM™ sensors and periodic PM200 to Embraer for flight test and evaluation.
2010 – Delivery of first in-flight monitoring system to Embraer S.A.
2011 – New management begins optimizing company’s operations.
2012 – Operations moved to North America and new manufacturing partnership formed with Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp (“AEM”).
2013 – Second in-flight program commenced with Embraer—utilizing sensors on E-Jet series aircraft, with support and technical assistance provided by Sandia.
2014 – Commencement of joint Sandia/Delta Airlines/ Boeing program to test CVM™ on Delta operated Boeing 737-NG aircraft, paving the way to FAA approval of technology for use in commercial aircraft.
2014 – SMS and AEM undergo in-depth facility evaluation and audit by a major global aviation OEM to approve SMS as a Preferred Supplier.
2015 – SMS begins process of formalizing key strategic Agreements with Testia GmbH and Sikorsky Aircraft.
2015 – SMS successfully completes all phases of the joint Delta/Boeing/Sandia commercial in-flight program.
2016 – Sikorsky Helicopter Program testing successfully completed – CVM™ sensors clearly exceeded the onerous “probability of detection” (POD) requirements for the Sikorsky test application.
2016 – SMS confirmed the completion of 10 successful in-aircraft installations in the Netherlands Air Force Apache AH-64 Attack Helicopter in-flight programme overseen by NLR.
2016 – SMS, Sandia and Embraer collaborated to select representative “hot spot” applications on Embraer aircraft. Currently, multiple generalized and far-reaching Service Bulletin (“SB”) revisions utilizing CVM™ have been written for entire aircraft regions
2016 – Boeing re-writes service bulletin for center wing box section to include CVM™ as an alternative means of inspection and successfully submits to FAA.
2016 – SMS raised $3.7 million through the placement of 2.6 million shares at $1.40 per share to a leading Australian asset manager with over $1bn AUM.
2017 – SMS engages UAE-domiciled Octus Aerospace Solutions (“OAS”), comprised of senior aerospace personnel, to rapidly expand CVM™’s global footprint and create visible commercial critical mass through multiple commercial agreements with benchmark airlines in the region. SMS and OAS completed major roadshow with Tier I operators and government officials in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
2017 – SMS executes a milestone, long-term Aircraft Component Purchase Agreement with Delta Airlines. Delta and SMS fully aligned to identify and gain OEM/Regulator approval for multiple applications across the Delta fleet, and subsequently on the entire global fleet of the world’s civilian airlines.
2017 – SMS executes landmark agreement to purchase 100% of Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corporation, the Company’s contract manufacturer of all CVM™ sensors and related equipment.
Current CVM™ Products
- Silicone Sensors – Moulded Silicon
- Sheet Sensors – Laser Ablated from Polymer Sheet
- KVAC – The base product reference vacuum source
- SIM8 – The pressure flow meter that connects to sensors
- PM200 – The Portable Monitor system designed to suit all types of customer requirements from airframe inspections to inspection of stationary and mobile equipment
Joint Development Programs
Development programs are underway through formal agreements with the world’s major aerospace participants including:
Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Sikorsky and Delta airlines. These programs are supported by long term partnerships with key institutions such the Sandia Laboratories where the FAA NDT Assurance Centre his based and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre – NLR .
Examples of some development programs include:
- Boeing/Delta/Sandia program – 18 month flight testing on 737 NG aircraft supported by lab based tests at Sandia
- Development program with Embraer and Sandia Laboratories.
- Strategic partnership with Airbus owned testing, maintenance and training organisation TESTIA.
- Rotary aircraft development program with Sikorsky
- Military aircraft potential application being developed together with NLR