Bombardier announced it has earned a top prize for technical innovation in the 2022 Les Mercuriades competition, Quebec's most prestigious business awards program sponsored annually by the Federation of Quebec Chamber of Commerce (Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, FCCQ).
Bombardier received the honour in the Technological Innovation (large corporations) category for advancements in its groundbreaking Smart Link Plus connected aircraft program. The 2022 winners were announced at a gala in Montréal on May 2.
Bombardier’s Smart Link Plus program is an advanced aircraft health monitoring system capable of interpreting real-time flight systems data and generating alerts while an aircraft is in flight as well as on the ground. Access to this previously untapped data allows flight and maintenance crews to prioritize aircraft service needs and proactively dispatch, troubleshoot and track fixes, and substantially minimize costly aircraft downtime. Proactive alerts generated via Smart Link Plus enable Bombardier’s customer service network to speed up response times and resolve issues more effectively.
“We are delighted to have this prestigious recognition of our transformative Smart Link Plus technology,” said Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Bombardier’s Executive Vice President, Customer Services and Support and Corporate Strategy. “At Bombardier, our strong focus on innovation, coupled with our homegrown talent continue to pioneer industry breakthroughs and contribute to the strength of the Canadian aerospace industry on the international stage as well as to the culture of technological excellence in Québec.”
The heart of the program is the Smart Link Plus box – an advanced Health Monitoring Unit (HMU) “smart” box capable of generating key data for customers, enabling them to increase the operational efficiency of their aircraft and minimize return-to-service times through data-driven decisions.
With a view to offering the system as a retrofit for its in-service aircraft and to eventually sharing decision-critical information across the company’s entire worldwide fleet, Bombardier collaborated with GE Aviation unit to develop the Smart Link Plus monitoring hardware. At the same time, Bombardier engineers focused on integrating the hardware with the aircraft’s systems and on identifying key maintenance indicators. The program’s third component, the Bombardier-exclusive user-friendly myMaintenance application, launched in August 2021, allows operators to display and interpret these indicators on any personal electronic device from virtually anywhere.
Currently, more than 97% of operators of production Global 7500 aircraft equipped with the hardware are subscribed to Smart Link Plus services. The hardware has been recently certified for aftermarket installation on most of the company’s in-service Challenger and Global aircraft models and has been introduced as a baseline equipment in the new Challenger 3500 aircraft.
To facilitate wider adoption, Bombardier is offering Smart Link Plus hardware to customers free of charge, with installation and subscription fees extra. Moreover, the company is already working to expand the capabilities of the program. Bombardier is collaborating with Canada's AI super-cluster, Scale AI, and leveraging Quebec-based expertise to develop predictive analytics capable of leveraging fleet-wide information for predictive maintenance and further advance its connected aircraft concept.
“Smart Link Plus is far more than a simple evolution of service,” added Gallagher. “It represents a quantum leap in our customers’ ability to predict and manage unscheduled maintenance events and provides a whole new level of peace of mind, predictability and responsiveness.”