The aerospace industry is currently faced with the development of new efficient turbofan engines, focused on fuel burn reduction combined with an additional decrease in noise emission. The upcoming engine programs and their components require new approaches regarding product materials, product design, engineering as well as challenging demands on supplier und supply chain processes.
Based on the development of these new efficient turbofan engines, also the manufacturing process of the new programs also had to be considered within the integrated clean sky approach. The major changes of the new products and product structures required that the high level strategy of manufacturing new turbofan engines and components had to be reviewed as well as the specific production concept on the shop floor.
The production had to fulfil the future requirements of integrating new production technologies, shortening product life-time cycles, achieving target costs of manufacturing and decreasing lead time as well as increasing quality demands. Additionally, the production encountered within volatile environment with fasten changing constrains and parameters regarding production volumes, product design changes and new technology processes.
Currently, engines and parts manufactures are mainly based on widespread manufacturing strategies and conventional production concepts. Based on general competences for production/logistics systems, the specific knowledge for the production processes within the aircraft industry as well as for the development of methodologies ifp consulting established a specific methodology.
Beginning with the definition of the methodology approach and a detailed analysis of existing requirements, concepts and targets, built up a methodology structured by different detailed levels of an integrated production concept. The methodology itself had to fulfil the requirements of a robust, sustainable, systematic, repeatable and efficient proceeding.
In order to support the production of new turbofan engines and engine components meeting future challenges and requirements, the project “iMAPC” focused on the development of a novel integrated methodology, which acts as a tool to develop strategies of manufacturing and production concepts for current and future market situations.
The integrated methodology focused on the change from a current “reacting position” of manufacturing to an “acting position”. Presently, manufacturing reacts to changes within its environment, such as changes in production volumes, new product designs, new technologies, etc., with changes in its production concept by late increase or decrease of capacities and resources, respectively, non-ideal layout changes and product segmentation and delayed integration of new technologies. The new methodology allowed manufacturing to investigate and verify how future changes such as higher or lower volumes, new designs and quality issues affect its current strategy as well as the production concept on the shop floor in advance (top down approach). Furthermore, the methodology provided manufacturing with an adapted manufacturing strategy as well as specifications necessary for suitable production concepts such as the required type of product segmentation, capacities issues and production organisation. Additionally, the methodology also allowed reverse proceeding based on a “bottom up” approach. Hence, changes in current processes at the shop floor level, different supplier concepts, etc. can be evaluated with regard to their impacts on the overall manufacturing strategy.
The methodology gathered existing strategies and concepts on different levels within the organisation and from different points of view (e.g. product point of view, technology development point of view, management point of view) as well as relevant input parameters such as volumes, product spectrum and general guidelines for manufacturing. Subsequently, the methodology processed the input data based on rules, knowledge databases and a defined algorithm, in order to formulate suitable future strategies of manufacturing and operationalise the according results as production concepts.
The methodology is based on following constraints:
- Robust – The methodology leads to results based on the current business framework in a stable way. Analogue to a control engineering system, this requires that no major changes for the strategy of manufacturing or the production concepts occur if minor input data is modified.
- Sustainable – The results for the manufacturing strategy and the production concepts must be sustainable and future-proof, as MTU Aero Engines will define its production strategy for new aircraft engines and engine components based on the results of the methodology.
- Systematic und repeatable – The methodology is based on a systematic proceeding structured into different levels of detail, following both top-down and bottom-up approach. The methodology, based on rules and algorithm, can be operated repeatedly in order to validate changing input parameters affecting the strategy of manufacturing and the resulting production concepts.
- Applicable in an efficient way – Based on supporting tools, the methodology can be applied in an efficient, simple and transparent way.
In summary, the methodology enabled manufacture of new turbofan engines and components to get in a position of being in the forefront of upcoming major changes affecting its strategy of manufacturing and its production concepts (top-down approach) and vice versa (bottom-up approach).