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Keep on running — engine maintenance and cost reduction
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.
52 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 94 S
Representatives now discuss individual needs with customers and together they craft a flexible maintenance package with various payment schemes. An example is CFM56 Tech Insertion. it is our understanding of the operational needs of airlines which allows us to manage diversified fleets. Jacques Chausse. Switzerland. a materials-by-the-hour programme and we negotiated on that basis. and life-limited parts (LLPs). “Ultimately. unplanned removal. it may be more viable to outsource maintenance and lease spare engines or join an engine pool. If the airline operates a large fleet. it would be practical for it to conduct in-house maintenance and own some spare engines. line replaceable units (LRUs). The scope of the package can include: engine performance. If it operates a small fleet. S Aircraft Technology . GM services marketing.” 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.” says Ulrico Zubler. explains: “In the past we offered off-the-shelf-products. head of SR Technics’ commercial services engine service centre in Zurich. We offered a dollar-per-hour programme. This may provide for maintenance by-the-hour or be based on time and materials. Historically. company realised that each customer had a different business model requiring a certain amount of flexibility.ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE A n MRO cannot conduct effective engine maintenance without taking into account the operations and maintenance outsourcing philosophies of the customer. GE Aviation subsequently changed its market approach and introduced OnPoint solutions. irrespective of size and to unlock the potential to make better returns for customers.Issue 94 S 53 . spare engines. diagnostics. engine MROs used to offer fixed packages. GE Aviation.
The TOW kit features advanced three-dimensional high-pressure compressor aerodynamics (3-D aero) and new high-pressure turbine hardware. Customers also have the option to choose between new parts or surplus parts in order to minimise material cost. SR Technics. monitored or managed on a single-event basis. Ameco Beijing. an authorised CFM and Pratt & Whitney repair station. RB211-535E4 (B) and JT9D. and in April 2008 Russia’s KrasAir contracted it to conduct engine repair/overhaul services on four RB211-535E4 engines. Engine overhaul can take anything from between 50 and 90 days. the shop decides which engine module to work on and type of service required. component and engine services. providing a customised solution integrating numerous engine-related functions into a one-stop-shop solution. Using this information.Issue 94 S . It is expanding its services beyond Asia.ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE SR Technics believes that inefficiencies in engine maintenance can be reduced by investing in the latest equipment. Shop business Typically. has also opted to provide a varied maintenance menu. a joint venture between Lufthansa and Air China. diagnostics tools are used to assess its incoming condition. has full overhaul capabilities for the PW4000 (94in). and depending on the requirements of the customer. ‘Lean’ production principles are being introduced into the production line in order to decrease overhaul costs. To help lower the cost of the engines over their life cycles. The integrated airline solutions (IAS) package delivers tailor-made solutions all the way up to complete technical outsourcing of all aircraft. The single engine services (SES) package ensures that engines are maintained. A common request is for an improvement of exhaust gas temperature (EGT) margins and GE Aviation claims to have significantly improved them on CFM56-3 engines with its advanced time on wing (TOW) kit. GE Aviation’s Celma 54 S Aircraft Technology . there is the integrated engine solutions (IES) package. Mechanics look at borescope trends and inspection data. when an engine arrives in the shop.
At SR Technics the average TAT for a full overhaul on CFM56 engines is 57 days and for PW4000 engines it is 65 days.Issue 94 S . In the near future it anticipates that this can be reduced by 25 per cent when lean production methods are fully in place. These benefits are achieved through improvements to the high-pressure compressor and the highand low-pressure turbines. Ameco’s TAT is between 60 and 90 calendar days. depending on the thrust rating. On average. which has given the company an in-house capability that covers the full FAA-DER range.200 engines a year. Tech Insertion is designed to provide operators with longer time on wing through an equivalent 15 to 20° C additional EGT margin. In particular. Chausse maintains Greenly clean During operation engines accumulate dirt particles on blades and vanes. the company has 250 shop visits a year. that these technologies have a payback that varies from one to three years and they offer substantial maintenance and fuel savings. shop achieves an average engine turnaround time (TAT) of 50 to 55 days. Advanced technologies can be introduced to engines that are with operators for the long term. Zubler says: “These investments do not just cut turnarounds and costs. Ireland. SR Technics strives to conduct as many of its repairs in-house as it can.200 engines a year.ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE A GE90 engine undergoes borescope testing. Inefficiencies in engine maintenance can be reduced by investing in new equipment. As Zubler explains. An example is CFM56 Tech Insertion. the company has been steadily expanding repair capabilities. they also reduce our dependence on external partners. the fuel consumption increases. Over the engine’s life cycle. CFM claims it can also lower maintenance costs by between five and 12 per cent. this means a reduction in the life of an engine. Ameco currently performs about 60 to 65 overhauls per year.” In view of this. SR Technics has obtained an automated welding device to perform internal and external welding on the large cases and air seals of the CFM56 and PW4000 engines. GE Aviation overhauls about 2. through enhanced durability. higher maintenance costs and increased pollution. To compensate for loss of performance. the compressor can be affected. reducing performance. For example. the average operating 56 S Aircraft Technology . Reducing cost Engine manufacturers are constantly researching processes and materials that extend time on wing and reduce maintenance costs. a job previously done by a semi-automated facility. For a performance restoration the average TAT is 53 days. The company overhauls about 2. The process was accelerated with the acquisition of SR Technics Airfoil Services in Cork. After an engine has been washed.
build up over time. Mark Goodhind.500 engines.5 and 0. Lufthansa Technik claims that engines cleaned regularly with its Cyclean Engine Wash consume less kerosene and emissions are between 0. When used in combination with other fleet data. while ECM by itself is valuable for predicting maintenance workscopes. is essentially software that monitors engine trends in order to predict a failure. In addition. Goodhind explains: “Trends. helping to reduce the cost of ownership. UK. by definition. The high-pressure compressor also works more efficiently and the engine stays on wing for longer. Engine condition monitoring Engine condition monitoring (ECM). On-wing engine washing is now increasingly used by MROs to optimise engine performance. thus avoiding unnecessary maintenance on perfectly serviceable components.000 engines in ‘Lean’ production principles are being introduced into the Ameco Beijing production line in order to decrease engine overhaul costs. enabling the corrective action to be taken based on condition rather than on a calendar-driven schedule”. DS&S also monitors aircraft equipment such as auxillary power units (APUs).5 per cent and that the environment benefits because the residue is collected and treated.600 aircraft worldwide. 7. Therefore. Equipment health monitoring.Issue 94 S . and 3. 58 S Aircraft Technology . Chausse says that the process can reduce fuel burn by 0.75 per cent lower. its value extends beyond that. it is also a key component in providing a long-term warning signal that provides additional benefits for the airline’s operations. While ECM is recognised as a tool for predicting failures one to three months down the line. 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. but the ability to spot these trends early is still limited. a regulatory requirement for extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards (ETOPS) certification. Today GE has about 25. customer business director of ECM provider Data Systems & Solutions (DS&S).ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE temperature is lower than on an engine with substantial dirt deposits. facilitates that understanding. ECM services are being used by smaller airlines that do not fly across the Atlantic in an effort to reduce engine maintenance costs. or ECM. says: “The way to control maintenance costs is obviously to make sure you have a better understanding of the health of your equipment. ECM can unlock even greater cost-saving opportunities.
customer service and cost. According to Zubler. the CFM56-7 is staying on wing about twice as long as the -3. FALCON can monitor complete aircraft fleets with a mix of different engine types and display comparative engine data on one screen. careful tailoring of services to customers’ operational requirements. How can MROs ensure that this trend continues? “Through a successful combination of key elements: good proactive planning. and to prevent any event. Chausse adds that the shop should deliver the engine’s expected performance levels. leading to more savings for the customer. world-class expertise. service. “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.000 of them are being monitored. and a comprehensive understanding of the factors surrounding engine operation and maintenance.” comments Chausse. to optimise it. and about 18.” concludes Zubler. we can provide peace of mind and keep our customers’ engines on wing. Here a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 undergoes testing. 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. SR Technics uses FALCON engine monitoring software. performance and durability of the overhauled engines. Ameco Beijing.Issue 94 S . It is a key area where we are investing a lot of dollars and improvements. The location of the MRO shop relative to the customer and the experience of the mechanics are also important considerations. The nature of composites means that inspection after foreign object damage (FOD) will be more complex and time consuming.” The shop should keep the customer constantly updated about the progress of the engine and it is imperative that deadlines are met. as barely any fan blades are being removed. I Data Systems & Solutions provides engine condition monitoring services for the Rolls-Royce fleet. the reparability has to be questioned. with EGT margins and turnaround times feeding into this. He also thinks that the scrap rate of composite parts in maturate engines will increase. flexibility. a significant advantage of composites is that they are corrosion resistant. manager of engine services..” observes Chausse. as are the blades of the GE90. Engines are now staying on wing much longer. Meyer says that while composites may “enhance the durability of the parts. Sometimes the only solution will be replacement. As Chausse says. Ameco says it is currently introducing ECM for engine customers in order to enhance the service portfolio. “It is critical to understand and monitor your engine performance. According to GE.g. in the case of lease return of an engine/aircraft). The fan blade and case of the GEnx are made from composites. the GE90 fan blade has an excellent time-on-wing.” In maintenance terms. Future considerations The use of composite parts in next-generation aircraft will have an effect on engine maintenance.ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE should consider quality in terms of the safety. increased use of composite parts will decrease the proportion of repairable parts. customers 60 S Aircraft Technology . According to Bernd Meyer. a product that has earned the company an innovation award. Selection criteria There are four major factors to consider when selecting an engine maintenance provider: quality.
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