Developing innovative repairs for engine parts is key when it comes to control engine maintenance costs. CRMA, an AFI KLM E&M subsidiary, is developing exclusive maintenance capabilities dedicated to GEnx combustion chambers with a new high technology content for ultra-reliable, ultra-accurate operations, especially during disassembly and assembly.
Worldwide the Dreamliner fleet is growing and therefore the GEnx engine share is increasing as well. Even before the new aircraft went into service with its parent airlines, AFI KLM E&M is already able to perform shop visits and quick-turn operations on engines already in revenue service. General Electric has been sending engines as offloads to AFI KLM E&M's engine shops as a result.
CRMA certified by General Electric
And it's here that the synergies within the Group's MRO network come into play, since the GEnx combustion chambers, a critical component of the engines, are handled by CRMA, AFI KLM E&M's repair centre of excellence. In fact, triggered by offering its customers a wide repair capability, CRMA decided to dedicate a development engineer for this project and started working on developing GEnx repairs early 2015. "Currently, we are the only non OEM engine shop in the world to be certified for the assembly and disassembly of GEnx combustion chambers," explains Thac-Si Do, GEnx development manager in CRMA's Department for Innovation. "And we have concurrently launched a progressive repair development plan for all combustion chamber components."
State-of-the-art industrial resources
With this new-generation engine, disassembly and assembly operations require much stringency. Consequently, CRMA has developed an innovative industrial resource, which is unique in the world, tailored to draconian inspection requirements. "The re-assembly of the combustion chamber must be done with hundredth of millimetre precision. The laser inspection carried out using the Faro 3D arm software that we have developed, which scans the targeted areas before modelling them in real time in 3D, is the perfect response to this requirement."
In May this year, CRMA successfully delivered its first combustion chambers, conducting repairs developed on the mixers. As mentioned above, the company aims to ramp up repair processes for combustion chamber components, in addition to assembly and disassembly operations. In the near future CRMA will extend repairs capability to combustion chamber dome's deflectors and replacement of the thermal barrier coating. Concurrently, CRMA is gearing up to obtain CAAC certification for GEnx combustion chamber, as it already has for all the other engines handled. Thus CRMA will be ready to repair engines from Chinese airlines after AFI KLM E&M signed a GEnx support contract with Xiamen Airlines. Once again, the Group is putting its full weight and the complementary benefits of its global MRO network at the disposal of its clients.
Innovation at every level for engine part repairs
And in the aim of further developing engine parts repair capabilities, AFI KLM E&M recently signed an agreement with Safran Aircraft Engines to set up a joint venture dedicated to the repair of turbine compressor blades for CFM56, GE90 and GP7200 engine families. Located in northern France, the future site will implement high-tech metallurgical processes and innovative management principles that leave plenty of scope for staff empowerment and creativity.