Ten years ago, Alain Lussier’s floatplane flipped over in the water while at a mooring during a thunderstorm. The plane was recovered unscathed, but all of the electrical parts had to be overhauled or replaced, and it took considerable time to manually install and check the wiring installation. At the time there was no automated technology that could do this. So Lussier invented it. The Advanced Mobile Universal Electrical Tool (AMUET) was born.
Electrical failures represent about 20-25% of all unscheduled maintenance activities. The Air Force’s fleet of air platforms is not immune to these wiring issues. Through a CTMA initiative, the wireless harness tester has proven effective in various C-130 electrical subsystems when demonstrated at Warner Robins and Hurlburt Air Force Bases, as well as on Naval Sea Command (NAVSEA) vessels. In February, the airmen of the 412th Maintenance Group at Edwards Air Force Base in California tested the AMUET system on an F-16 avionics wire installation. The maintainers were impressed by the agility and ease of using the system.
“Our demonstration began at 10 a.m. on a Monday and by Wednesday morning the maintainers were able to use the AMUET system without us,” says Alain Lussier, CEO of Solavitek, Inc. “They saw for themselves what an easy tool it is to use.”
The F-16 maintenance crew will be evaluating the AMUET system on a fleet of 30 aircraft over the span of a year, due to the complexity of their maintenance schedule. Before using the AMUET system, maintainers had to check the dozens of wire bundles individually, which took countless hours and was open for human error. The AMUET system is efficient, accurate, and can upload the results securely into a local computer system for easy sharing.
This wired or wireless automatic wire tester has proven a beneficial tool in identifying wiring issues early before they become a serious hazard. Utilizing this ability fits nicely into the predictive maintenance environment that the Department of Defense is transitioning towards. It has been adopted by many commercial airlines and helicopter companies and was a featured technology at a NAVAIR F-18 Industry Day at Lakehurst.
The CTMA initiative kick–off meeting at Edwards Air Force Base went very well. As the maintainers tested the AMUET system it became readily apparent that the task that took hours previously would only take minutes.
“We were able to get our hands on the AMUET and be able to talk to the company representatives and give them feedback and they can take our suggestions and work on making standard operating procedures,” said Tech Sgt. Alexander Franz, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in a February 19 article in an Edwards Air Force Base e-newsletter. “It would be an awesome privilege to be a part of history; to say, ‘we did it here first.’ So, it is absolutely critical for us to get it right.”
Lussier still flies the floatplane that began this AMUET journey a decade ago. It has become a symbol of his commitment to wiring safety and invention. With 10 U.S. patents granted, the AMUET system is a leader wiring harness testing.
“I’m going to change the industry!” says Lussier. “I think outside the box when it comes to wiring and electrical installation innovation.”