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Over the last four years AFI KLM E&M also has focused on turn-around time and reduced the average TAT for engine overhauls by five percent a year, resulting in lower costs, higher availability and greater capacity at the engine shops. The MRO also has clarified and simplified procedures and work rules. In addition AFI KLM E&M reduced the average TAT for repair time of single engine parts handled in-house by approximately 40 percent over four years. Key to this achievement was substantially reducing waiting time for these parts, the MRO says. The actual repair itself (touch time) in most cases is more or less stable although it can sometimes be improved by using new techniques or equipment, executives say. AFI KLM E&M also managed to keep costs at a constant nominal level, raise personnel satisfaction and reduce sick leave.

“Fixing” TAT

LHT Engine Services has taken a different approach, introducing fixed turn-around times at every level. At the same time that TATs are controlled, however, the flexibility of the work force has been increased through techniques like cross-training, Langer says. The results of the project have been good so far although the transformation is not yet complete—20 shops were on board as this article was written. One promising result is the way people talk about problems, Langer adds. “They now are in more of a problem-solving mode than a complaining mode.” Other recent initiatives include the Closed-Loop Repair program

from 2009 to 2011. This achieved a limit of no more than 15 days’ TAT for each set of engine tubes repaired in Berlin by reducing transportation and waiting time. Closed-loop means that the repaired parts are reinstalled in the same engines. LHT also increased turbine airfoil repair efficiency as part of the Closed-Loop Repair program. After cross-qualifying technicians to handle high-pressure turbine vanes in CFM56, PW4000 and V2500 engines, the MRO was able to overhaul these components in one line instead of three.

During this period the APU shop also was reorganized with

greater capacity and more product types. At the same time TAT decreased from around 60 days to an average of 27 to 31 days. The fan blade shop meanwhile has reduced TAT 40 percent by

controlling WIP, improving process flow and applying visualization tools. Last autumn the fan blade shop received a Silver Award as part of the Rolls-Royce “center of excellence” program.

Front-End Opportunities GE Engine Services has found recent Lean opportunities at the front-end of processes. Its large engine overhaul facility in Wales, for example, was able to reduce TAT for the GE90 from 15 to 12 days, focusing on the front-end of the process, known as Gate 1, according to Adrian Button, who leads the facility. The project last year involved people from all over the GE

Aviation supply chain and was three months in the planning, Button says. The Wales plant was able to free up capacity and grow the business. It’s important to get through Gate 1—whether for engines or components—as quickly as possible, Bradley agrees. If the process gets clogged up at the start, it’s hard to catch up. Seal repair cycle time at the Indiana plant was cut by 20 percent at the front end, focusing on prepping the parts and getting them to the right points in the process via organizational devices like the gravity-fed rack.

The rack is designed at an incline so that, as the user pulls a bin out, the next one that is due pops into place. It’s designed to

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Aviation Maintenance | | June / July 2012 27

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