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17/06/2015 - Helios, the next-gen aerostructures and composites shop

This summer AFI KLM E&M is due to complete construction of its new shop dedicated to aerostructures and composites at its Roissy-Charles de Gaulle site. Helios will implement cutting-edge technologies and innovative processes brought by The MRO Lab.

Paris, Amstelveen, 17 June 2015 - The Helios project was launched in 2012 with the aim of upgrading AFI KLM E&M's industrial base and offering enhanced performance to its clients. All the aerostructures facilities at Le Bourget will be brought under a single roof to ensure an optimized aerostructures offering. Helios will in particular have more space for new materials such as composites. The 18,500 square meters building, built facing the dedicated A380 hangar, will house 250-300 highly qualified experts. The new aerostructures unit is scheduled for handover during the summer, with personnel taking up occupation in September 2015.

Optimized maintenance
The challenge taken up by Helios is to do everything better and faster in an optimized economic framework. The grouping of hitherto disparate units under a single roof, combined with painstaking work on improving processes, will help to cut nacelle repair times and halve TAT. Anne Brachet, EVP Air France Industries, said: "In terms of overhauls, we will deliver particularly outstanding work on FTR housings. We have also developed more narrowly-targeted maintenance policies, especially for the CFM56-5B, which will minimize costs for clients as well as component handling times"

Sized for giants
The Helios building is equipped with large capacity engineering resources, specially designed to receive and process new-generation aircraft modules. These currently include the A380 and 777 and will subsequently cater to the 787 and A350. In this connection, AFI KLM E&M is especially proud of being granted the UTC Aerospace license authorizing it to repair Boeing 787 nacelles. AFI KLM E&M is thus one of just four operators worldwide with extremely advanced 787 nacelle capabilities for its own assets and also that of third-party client airlines.

Leveraging R&D capacity with The MRO Lab
"Innovation is central to our development," said Anne Brachet. "Developing our MRO Lab in the new facility means, for example, we will be able to deploy new, less environmentally aggressive sanding tools, with less abrasive stripping methods based on pressurized cornstarch blasting, for composites and metals alike." The use of scanning tools will be developed to check the various surfaces to be treated or repaired. Hélios will also equip with state-of-the-art machining tools for complex work on composite materials, with a hitherto unrivaled degree of precision.

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