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Focus on one of Safran’s most connected factories

Innovation

“If you want to go far, go together” is a proverb that Safran Landing Systems’ Information Systems (IS*) and Operations Technologies (OT**) teams have made their own. Their collaboration is driving the company’s digital transformation to boost its performance and offer ever better support to aircraft manufacturers, airlines and operators.

Factory 4.0 - Monitoring screen of the plant of Mirabel

Boosting performance and production quality to improve customer satisfaction is a challenge that all Safran Landing Systems facilities have to address every day, and here digital technologies are key to successful execution. The Mirabel-Montréal facility that builds main fittings for several landing gear models*** is something of a trailblazer in this regard, having connected 85% of its industrial and tertiary systems. As Safran Landing Systems’ most connected facility, Mirabel is also a spearhead for Safran’s factory of the future and production data mining efforts.

“To accomplish the digital transformation across the enterprise, we need to harmonize technologies and practices and to achieve better project coordination and management,” says Marc Lesaffre, in charge of the IS Manufacturing center of excellence. “To this end, the OT team at Mirabel and the IS Manufacturing team in Vélizy are working in tandem to identify and prioritize needs from other facilities in order to develop standard solutions that factor in data security constraints and provide effective change management support.”

Factory 4.0 Machining lign

This process is underpinned by a number of technology building blocks, of which machine connectivity — enabling collection of production data like operating status, temperature or current — is the most mature. A standard solution developed by IS Manufacturing is already up and running at eight facilities, and three others are rolling it out, with Mirabel as the pilot facility. “Once the solution is operating on the first machines and procedures have been defined, we’ll help facilities to train their teams and hook up other machines as they go,” explains Christian Houle, Operational Technologies Manager. Thousands of data points are thus constantly being collected and sent to a platform for analysis and archiving

Factory 4.0 - Monitoring screen of the plant of Mirabel 2

A major Data track was also recently initiated to optimize processes, quality, efficiency and maintenance. “The scope is huge, as are the associated economies of scale,” notes Marc Lesaffre“It spans condition-based and predictive maintenance and work sharing between production lines to connected sensors recording energy consumption.

Machining, thermal surface treatment, assembly and other lines are not the only ones to benefit from data analytics. There are also reporting applications for quality, maintenance, continuous improvement, planning, finance, and health, safety and environment (HSE), as well as for monitoring energy, air and water consumption.

Factory 4.0 Check

Another ongoing project is the Direct Machine Interface, designed to ensure enhanced digital continuity between industrial execution (machines/IoT****) and tools employed further up the line by methods and engineering. This helps design offices make sure that parts in production comply with design requirements by looking at data collected automatically from part inspections.

There are nevertheless two vital pre-requisites to all of these advances: 

  • The first is cybersecurity, to ensure compliance with industrial security rules and regulations. “A group composed of a cybersecurity expert and OT coordinators is working at each facility to identify critical assets, assess risks, and define and deploy protective measures,” stresses Marc Lesaffre. 

     

  • The second is the recruitment of more people to strengthen Safran Landing Systems’ OT teams around the globe. Calling all top talents out there!

 

Do you have skills in automation, IT infrastructure, software applications, data management or even R&T in the field of new technologies?

Day after day, our facilities become a little more 4.0; an essential and exciting transformation for the aerospace sector and its ability to meet ever more ambitious challenges of performance, competitiveness and environmental protection. 

* IT and associated infrastructures (software applications, servers, etc.)  ** Production IT (robots, automation, networks, etc.)  *** Airbus A320, A330, A340 et A350, Boeing 787.  **** Internet of Things: a network of physical devices and other objects embedded with sensors and thus able to collect and share data between them and with other systems.

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  • © Christian Fleury / CAPA Pictures / Safran