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Maintenance

Reputable regional 2019

EME Aero is another joint venture engine MRO project by Lufthansa Technik, this time with MTU Aero Engines. Ian Harbison reports
 

The 50/50 joint venture is located in Jasionka close to the city of Rzeszow in southeast Poland and will become a major facility for overhaul of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine powering the Airbus A320neo Family (PW1100G-JM), Airbus A220-100/300 (PW1500G) and Embraer E190/195-E2 (PW1900G). Investment will be around €150 million by 2020, when it will become operational. Capacity will be ramped up rapidly without sacrificing quality or training, says the company – all of the engines are in service with Lufthansa Group airlines, so there is a home market to start with – but planned annual throughput is more than 450 shop visits with more than 1,000 qualified employees by 2026. The layout has been designed for maximum efficiency with an advanced and unique Disassembly, Assembly Flow Line System that has been designed specifically for EME Aero in cooperation with MTU Munich and Pratt & Whitney. To round up the setup, the Test Cell is currently under construction and will be available for Entry into Service at the end of 2019.

 

Derrick Siebert, CEO, says: “The overall timeline for this undertaking has been extremely challenging from the beginning, and we have often encountered the expression ’impossible to achieve’. Despite all odds, we are extremely proud to still be on track with creating EME Aero according to the plan.”

 

Dr Uwe Zachau, COO, adds: “This is only possible with the excellent team that we have built in EME, currently consisting of almost 200 employees and continuously growing.”

 

Christian Seitler, Senior Director, New Overhaul Product Line & EIS Management Engine Services for Lufthansa Technik says that, as with XEOS (see separate article page xxx), overhaul capacity is limited and so extra capacity has to be found. He adds that the investment requirements are so high that a joint venture is absolutely necessary.

 

The location is good for logistics, with a major highway linking southeast and southwest Poland and Germany. It is also an aviation cluster, with Aviation Valley being a group of 158 companies in the region including MTU Aero Engines Polska, Pratt & Whitney Kalisz and Safran Transmission Systems Poland.

 

For EME, training is most important to generate the required skilled staff at the start of operations, scheduled for early 2020, an investment of several million euros. Last October, the EME Aero Training Center was opened in Jasionka, when the company had around 70 employeeswhich have been introduced into EME’s Training Program that, depending on profession, can last up to 12 months and consists, amongst others, of theoretical training (in technical English, aviation law regulations, human factor and basic knowledge of the engine) and practical training with the use of several training engines. Employees are also offered on-the-job training at MTU and Lufthansa Technik to complete the training programme and to be ready and fit for their tasks.

 

In January, when employees had risen to 130, EME Aero and the local Łańcut county, 18km from Jasionka, signed an agreement on mutual cooperation in the field of education and vocational training. Educational facilities involved include Centre of Practical Training and Vocational Education, Technical School Complex, School Complex No 2 and School Complex No 3. Training will also include the development of an English language teaching program, taking into account the specialist technical vocabulary which is indispensable for work in the aviation industry. Particular requirements are for aircraft engine mechanics for the disassembly and assembly area, quality and NDT controllers as well as logistics operators and engine test operators.

 

At School Complex No. 2, a new category of Aircraft Mechanic Technician will be created and held under the patronage of EME Aero. The curriculum will be developed jointly between EME Aero and Łańcut, together with a system of specialised training courses for students and teachers, and a schedule of visits to the Training Center and Service Center of the company.

 

Siebert says: “We believe that as a corporation we have social responsibility to invest into young people and give them perspective to grow. This is why we are teaming up with schools to offer our support in creating an attractive program, providing the younger generations an opportunity in EME. Strong youth means a strong future.”

 

Work on the construction site, which covers about 16 hectares, began in mid-June 2018. The area has already been levelled and over 60,000m³ of earth have been moved on the construction site. Over 160 concrete columns constituting the skeleton of the plant, weighting up to 18 tonnes each will be erected. In total, approximately 2600 tonnes of steel and over 8000m³  of concrete will be consumed during construction works. Over 1,350,000 manhours will be required to complete construction works.

 

In Hamburg, the core of the business remains the CFM56 and IAE V2500 engines, with both types seeing an increase in business.

 

CFM56 work is expected to remain strong for some time but the company has been looking at the LEAP-1A for the Airbus A320neo Family for the last couple of years and now has an initial tooling set at the facility, with training expected to start in the summer towards the first induction at the end of this year. This will be followed by the LEAP-1B for the 737 MAX in the medium term. The crossover point between CFM56 and LEAAP is not expected until 2030.

 

At N3 in Erfurt, preparations have been going on for the Rolls-Trent XWB, which powers the Airbus A350. There has been one engine induction but most activity has been on line maintenance.


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