United Airlines Keeps Track of Valuable Tools with Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher® System

July 20, 2012
Key Control Systems Support Accountability Policies and Procedures

Oxford, CT (July 18, 2012) – Key control and management systems from Morse Watchmans are used in corporate and educational facilities, museums, hotels and more to safeguard and track the use of door keys. The breakthrough engineering of the Morse Watchmans system also lends itself to other innovative applications including that of the United Airlines Jet Rebuild and Test Facility in San Francisco.

At the facility where United brings its jets for rebuilding, each mechanic is provided with the specific tools and test equipment needed for the job at hand. The items, some valued in price between $10,000 and $20,000, are kept in locked toolboxes located in assigned areas relating to the project. The shop uses the integrated Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher key control system to store the keys for the toolboxes and to enable complete control of who has access to individual keys. An audit trail tracks data regarding who removed any key, when it was taken and when it was returned.

“With the KeyWatcher, the tools stay in their designated locations,” said Bob Brown, Senior Specialist for Continuous Improvement at United’s facility. “We know the actual person who is using the tools, and we can hold them accountable. That's why we're not missing anything. They take pride in what they do and everything's there for the next person.”

The facility uses one 96-key and three 48-key KeyWatcher cabinets. The 96-key unit and one of the 48-key units incorporate card swipe readers to enable employee access using their time-and-attendance cards. All four cabinets have keypads that enable entry using a user's unique PIN number. Keys may be out for 20 minutes or for up to a full eight-hour shift. Backup keys, for use in case a key is lost, are also secured in the cabinet.

Prior to implementing the new procedures and KeyWatcher key control system, Mr. Brown remembers that tool usage was not well organized and tracking the tools was difficult. Non-tool items were often placed into tool boxes, and the potential for foreign object debris (FOB) being sucked into an engine was ever present. With the new policies and procedures, those issues have been minimized and/or eliminated.

He says, “In the two years since the KeyWatcher system was installed, there was only one missing tool, which was found after two hours. That's a pretty good record so far for a facility this size.”

The system can be accessed through an IP address from anywhere in the building and this online control enables Mr. Brown to administer the system and know from his desktop computer who has any key. He can also generate KeyWatcher activity reports that provide complete information on which keys come and go at what time and on what day. The information provides insight into usage trends that could help the facility support a need for additional equipment. Mr. Brown states that the facility is already looking to install additional KeyWatcher units, and other departments at United have expressed interest in the system for additional uses.

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