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Keep on running — engine

maintenance and cost

Gone are the days when

engine maintenance
providers would offer
customers a few standard
packages. Now there is a
plethora of engine
maintenance options,
tailored to suit airlines’
varied operational needs.
In today’s engine
maintenance market,
flexibility is all.

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n MRO cannot conduct effective engine
maintenance without taking into
account the operations and
maintenance outsourcing philosophies of the
customer. If the airline operates a large fleet,
it would be practical for it to conduct in-house
maintenance and own some spare engines. If
it operates a small fleet, it may be more
viable to outsource maintenance and lease
spare engines or join an engine pool.
“Ultimately, it is our understanding of the
operational needs of airlines which allows us
to manage diversified fleets, irrespective of
size and to unlock the potential to make
better returns for customers,” says Ulrico
Zubler, head of SR Technics’ commercial
services engine service centre in Zurich,
Historically, engine MROs used to offer
fixed packages. Jacques Chausse, GM
services marketing, GE Aviation, explains: “In
the past we offered off-the-shelf-products. We
offered a dollar-per-hour programme, a
materials-by-the-hour programme and we
negotiated on that basis.” Over time the US

Engine manufacturers are

constantly researching
processes and materials
that extend time on wing
and reduce maintenance
costs. Advanced
technologies can be
introduced to engines that
are with operators for the
long term. An example is
CFM56 Tech Insertion.

company realised that each customer had a

different business model requiring a certain
amount of flexibility. GE Aviation
subsequently changed its market approach
and introduced OnPoint solutions.
Representatives now discuss individual
needs with customers and together they craft
a flexible maintenance package with various
payment schemes. This may provide for
maintenance by-the-hour or be based on time
and materials. The scope of the package can
include: engine performance; unplanned
removal; line replaceable units (LRUs);
diagnostics, spare engines; and life-limited
parts (LLPs).

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SR Technics believes that inefficiencies in engine maintenance can be reduced by investing in the latest equipment.

SR Technics, an authorised CFM and Pratt production line in order to decrease overhaul
& Whitney repair station, has also opted to costs. Customers also have the option to
provide a varied maintenance menu. To help choose between new parts or surplus parts in
lower the cost of the engines over their life order to minimise material cost.
cycles, there is the integrated engine
solutions (IES) package, providing a Shop business
customised solution integrating numerous Typically, when an engine arrives in the
engine-related functions into a one-stop-shop shop, diagnostics tools are used to assess its
solution. The single engine services (SES) incoming condition. Mechanics look at
package ensures that engines are maintained, borescope trends and inspection data. Using
monitored or managed on a single-event this information, and depending on the
basis. The integrated airline solutions (IAS) requirements of the customer, the shop
package delivers tailor-made solutions all the decides which engine module to work on and
way up to complete technical outsourcing of type of service required. A common request is
all aircraft, component and engine services. for an improvement of exhaust gas
Ameco Beijing, a joint venture between temperature (EGT) margins and GE Aviation
Lufthansa and Air China, has full overhaul claims to have significantly improved them on
capabilities for the PW4000 (94in), CFM56-3 engines with its advanced time on
RB211-535E4 (B) and JT9D. It is expanding wing (TOW) kit. The TOW kit features advanced
its services beyond Asia, and in April 2008 three-dimensional high-pressure compressor
Russia’s KrasAir contracted it to conduct aerodynamics (3-D aero) and new
engine repair/overhaul services on four high-pressure turbine hardware.
RB211-535E4 engines. ‘Lean’ production Engine overhaul can take anything from
principles are being introduced into the between 50 and 90 days. GE Aviation’s Celma

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A GE90 engine undergoes borescope testing. GE Aviation overhauls about 2,200 engines a year.

shop achieves an average engine turnaround that these technologies have a payback that
time (TAT) of 50 to 55 days. The company varies from one to three years and they offer
overhauls about 2,200 engines a year. substantial maintenance and fuel savings.
Ameco’s TAT is between 60 and 90 calendar Inefficiencies in engine maintenance can
days. In the near future it anticipates that this be reduced by investing in new equipment. For
can be reduced by 25 per cent when lean example, SR Technics has obtained an
production methods are fully in place. Ameco automated welding device to perform internal
currently performs about 60 to 65 overhauls and external welding on the large cases and
per year. At SR Technics the average TAT for a air seals of the CFM56 and PW4000 engines,
full overhaul on CFM56 engines is 57 days a job previously done by a semi-automated
and for PW4000 engines it is 65 days. For a facility. Zubler says: “These investments do
performance restoration the average TAT is 53 not just cut turnarounds and costs; they also
days. On average, the company has 250 shop reduce our dependence on external partners.
visits a year. SR Technics strives to conduct as many of its
repairs in-house as it can.” In view of this, the
Reducing cost company has been steadily expanding repair
Engine manufacturers are constantly capabilities. The process was accelerated with
researching processes and materials that the acquisition of SR Technics Airfoil Services
extend time on wing and reduce maintenance in Cork, Ireland, which has given the company
costs. Advanced technologies can be an in-house capability that covers the full
introduced to engines that are with operators FAA-DER range.
for the long term. An example is CFM56 Tech
Insertion. Over the engine’s life cycle, Tech Greenly clean
Insertion is designed to provide operators with During operation engines accumulate dirt
longer time on wing through an equivalent 15 particles on blades and vanes. In particular,
to 20° C additional EGT margin. CFM claims it the compressor can be affected, reducing
can also lower maintenance costs by between performance. To compensate for loss of
five and 12 per cent, depending on the thrust performance, the fuel consumption increases.
rating, through enhanced durability. These As Zubler explains, this means a reduction in
benefits are achieved through improvements the life of an engine, higher maintenance
to the high-pressure compressor and the high- costs and increased pollution. After an engine
and low-pressure turbines. Chausse maintains has been washed, the average operating

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temperature is lower than on an engine with

substantial dirt deposits. The high-pressure
compressor also works more efficiently and
the engine stays on wing for longer, helping to
reduce the cost of ownership.
Chausse says that the process can reduce
fuel burn by 0.5 per cent and that the
environment benefits because the residue is
collected and treated. Lufthansa Technik
claims that engines cleaned regularly with its
Cyclean Engine Wash consume less kerosene
and emissions are between 0.5 and 0.75 per
cent lower. On-wing engine washing is now
increasingly used by MROs to optimise
engine performance.

Engine condition monitoring

Engine condition monitoring (ECM), a
regulatory requirement for extended-range
twin-engine operational performance
standards (ETOPS) certification, is
essentially software that monitors engine
trends in order to predict a failure. In
addition, ECM services are being used by
smaller airlines that do not fly across the
Atlantic in an effort to reduce engine
maintenance costs. Mark Goodhind,
customer business director of ECM provider
Data Systems & Solutions (DS&S), UK,
says: “The way to control maintenance
costs is obviously to make sure you have a
better understanding of the health of your
equipment, thus avoiding unnecessary
maintenance on perfectly serviceable
components. Equipment health monitoring,
or ECM, facilitates that understanding,
enabling the corrective action to be taken
based on condition rather than on a
calendar-driven schedule”.
While ECM is recognised as a tool for
predicting failures one to three months
down the line, it is also a key component in
providing a long-term warning signal that
provides additional benefits for the airline’s
operations. Goodhind explains: “Trends, by
definition, build up over time, but the ability
to spot these trends early is still limited.
Therefore, while ECM by itself is valuable
for predicting maintenance workscopes, its
value extends beyond that. When used in
combination with other fleet data, ECM can
unlock even greater cost-saving
opportunities, such as more effective
spares provisioning and asset pooling.”
DS&S provides ECM services for the
Rolls-Royce fleet and for other engine types
across 100 airlines, 7,500 engines, and
3,600 aircraft worldwide. DS&S also
monitors aircraft equipment such as
‘Lean’ production principles are being introduced into the Ameco Beijing production line in order to auxillary power units (APUs).
decrease engine overhaul costs. Today GE has about 25,000 engines in

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should consider quality in terms of the safety,

performance and durability of the overhauled
engines. Chausse adds that the shop should
deliver the engine’s expected performance
levels, with EGT margins and turnaround times
feeding into this. Meyer says that the MRO
can save costs by listening to the customer
and performing only the services needed:
“Sometimes it is not necessary to perform a
full overhaul workscope (e.g., in the case of
lease return of an engine/aircraft).”
The shop should keep the customer
constantly updated about the progress of the
engine and it is imperative that deadlines
are met. “It could be fairly expensive if you
are expecting the engine to be delivered in
50 days and you get it after 100 days
instead,” observes Chausse. The location of
the MRO shop relative to the customer and
the experience of the mechanics are also
important considerations.

Future considerations
The use of composite parts in
next-generation aircraft will have an effect
on engine maintenance. According to
Zubler, increased use of composite parts
will decrease the proportion of repairable
parts. The nature of composites means
that inspection after foreign object damage
(FOD) will be more complex and time
consuming. He also thinks that the scrap
rate of composite parts in maturate
engines will increase. Meyer says that
while composites may “enhance the
Data Systems & Solutions provides engine condition monitoring services for the Rolls-Royce fleet. durability of the parts, the reparability has
Here a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 undergoes testing. to be questioned. Sometimes the only
solution will be replacement.” In
service, and about 18,000 of them are maintenance terms, a significant
being monitored. “It is critical to advantage of composites is that they are
understand and monitor your engine corrosion resistant. The fan blade and
performance, to optimise it, and to prevent case of the GEnx are made from
any event. It is a key area where we are composites, as are the blades of the
investing a lot of dollars and GE90. According to GE, the GE90 fan
improvements,” comments Chausse. SR blade has an excellent time-on-wing, as
Technics uses FALCON engine monitoring barely any fan blades are being removed,
software, a product that has earned the leading to more savings for the customer.
company an innovation award. FALCON can Engines are now staying on wing much
monitor complete aircraft fleets with a mix longer. As Chausse says, the CFM56-7 is
of different engine types and display staying on wing about twice as long as the
comparative engine data on one screen. -3. How can MROs ensure that this trend
Ameco says it is currently introducing ECM continues? “Through a successful
for engine customers in order to enhance combination of key elements: good
the service portfolio. proactive planning, world-class expertise,
careful tailoring of services to customers’
Selection criteria operational requirements, and a
There are four major factors to consider comprehensive understanding of the factors
when selecting an engine maintenance surrounding engine operation and
provider: quality, flexibility, customer service maintenance, we can provide peace of mind
and cost. According to Bernd Meyer, manager and keep our customers’ engines on wing,”
of engine services, Ameco Beijing, customers concludes Zubler. I

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