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Manufacturers in the loop
Manufacturers in the loop

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Manufacturers in the loop

By Frédéric Vergnères

Copyright : Airbus Helicopters

With increasing demand and a need to diversify their activities, helicopter manufacturers as well as engine makers have been strengthening their presence on the MRO segment in recent years. As proof, the HCare program launched by Airbus Helicopters during the 2015 Heli-Expo trade show. A technical support platform available 24/7 capable of managing requests from customers around the world via its KeyCopter, online portal. The program is composed of five service offerings including MRO, training, technical support, connected services and equipment management. The MRO domain has three service levels ranging from simple to the most comprehensive: Easy, Smart and Infinite. Through this program, Airbus Helicopters has increased its customer approach especially in terms of new markets. And to meet operators’ various maintenance needs, the manufacturer has 102 maintenance and service centers worldwide, including 30 in the US and 35 in Europe. Whereas Bell Helicopter offers its customers seven of its own centers and over 50 centers certified by the helicopter manufacturer around the world. Helicopter manufacturers have also set up their own specific structures. Such as Safran Helicopter Engines (SHE) that equips one in three helicopters worldwide. With this level of success, the engine maker was the first on the market to offer MRO service based on flight hours, not only on the civil market but also military with the Global Support Package (GSP). According to the engine maker, 50% of its technical assistance revenue is currently generated from this type of flight-hour contract, a sector representing 70% of its revenue. The service is provided through a local network close to the client made up of 12 subsidiaries outside of France, ranging from front office to various levels of MRO activity: engine maintenance to full repair. The Tarnos site (Landres), which remains the nerve center of this global network, is expected to be fully modernized as part of the Cap 2020 project launched by SHE in 2015. In addition to its subsidiaries, SHE has 90 approved centers around the world. SHE also has a line maintenance management service: Boost (Bank Of Online Services & Technologies). An online integrated services platform primarily aimed at fleet management and engine maintenance. The platform has three features: an electronic engine log, online technical documentation and an engine configuration manager. Available technical documentation is configured based on the customer’s engines. Boost can also be used to monitor all modifications and technical improvements that have been performed on the engine. Beyond this program, SHE also indicated that it plans to go paperless in the field of technical documentation, as well as develop projects in the field of predictive maintenance, augmented reality for remote maintenance assistance and additive manufacturing for the repair of parts. SHE is also looking into the future factory concept in the MRO sector.

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