The purpose of this study was to explore and identify where technology automation could be used to reduce time and wasted labor in aircraft inventory and maintenance processes. The research used passive RFID AutoID technology due to its capabilities in data logging and relatively hands-off, passive use. The Purdue University’s aircraft maintenance system operates under old time card systems with paper inspection, check outs of tools, and non-routine inspections, contributing to long search times when looking for maintenance problems or lost inventory that may have happened up to and over a year ago. Furthermore, there are general inefficiencies due to locating forms and filling out paperwork. This study evaluated the effectiveness of RFID technology in an updated process map of tool / part usage, while providing a proof-of-concept RFID-enabled system to track aircraft inventory parts and tools. The study collected information about tool usage and inventory accountability. The use of a database to facilitate this data tracking would have allowed easy access and analysis for maintenance managers to better identify tool use with individual technicians. The solution was to RFID tag a selected test set of specialized aircraft maintenance tools found in the tool room at Hangar 6 in Purdue University’s airport that require check out (as well as aircraft inventory parts), utilize the RFID tunnel and Alien RFID system at Purdue University’s Supply Chain Lab, attach RFID tags to mock name badges, and allow for tracking simply by walking through the door or near the tunnel and checking if the tool was recorded by the RFID reader for that particular person. This resulted in a study of the “before case” process map to the “after case” process map, and whether any steps were removed or added.


RFID, aircraft maintenance, Hangar of the Future, MRO

Date of this Version



Industrial Technology

Department Head

Dr. Newton

Month of Graduation


Year of Graduation



Master of Science

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Dr. Edie K Schmidt

Advisor 2

Dr. Timothy D Ropp

Advisor 3

Dr. Donald D Buskirk