Labinal Power Systems: always moving towards "more electric" aircraft
Can you just start by reminding us why Safran decided to group together all its electrical power activities?
Today, there is an underlying trend in the aerospace sector that aims to gradually replace pneumatic and hydraulic systems on planes with electrical systems. Safran was very quick to understand this development and is now positioned as a leading player in the field of "more electric" aircraft. That is why several Group companies, namely Labinal, Technofan, Safran Power and Aerosource were grouped together to form Labinal Power Systems. Ultimately, we will offer aircraft manufacturers complete electrical systems, including electrical power generation, wiring, power electronics and distribution. At the same time, we support the Group's equipment manufacturers in electrifying their systems: braking, taxiing, thrust reversers etc.
Labinal Power Systems is also the result of several acquisitions…
That's right. Safran lacked certain technological bricks to master the complete electrical chain on board aircraft. Today, through the acquisition of Goodrich Electrical Power Systems in March 2013, then the embedded power distribution business of Eaton Aerospace in January 2014, we master the entire electrical power chain on planes.
What are your objectives in the coming months?
We are going to continue to foster synergies between our divisions in order to propose optimized service offers to aircraft manufacturers. Our goal is to be a benchmark systems-engineering company in the field of "more electric" aircraft. This also means constantly investing in R&D, to which we devote an annual budget of €30 million. For example, we are working on the design of new electrical architectures as well as electrical distribution systems using smart contactors.
What is your sales outlook?
Over the first year, we met all our customers in order to present them our new business perimeter. Their interest in our service offers, notably at Airbus and Boeing, has led to us being consulted for several calls for tender and our inclusion in their studies for future programs. We had our first sales success in November 2014 when we were selected to supply the primary and auxiliary electrical power generation system for the MA700, a turboprop designed by Xi'an Aircraft Industry Corporation, a subsidiary of AVIC*. And we should conclude other contracts during the year.
* Aviation Industry Corporation of China