#LoveMySafranJob - At the heart of the reactor of the future: the engine test technician
Franck Mazereel has an unfaltering passion for archeology, to which he devotes a large part of his life, but he also has one foot in the future as an engine test technician involved in development at Safran Aircraft Engines. He opened the doors of the famous “test benches”, an essential cog in the Group's Research and Development, where concentration is extreme and trust between associates is crucial.
Unlike production test benches, where final checks are carried out before delivery to the customer, development benches are used for the engines of the future. "At this stage, the engine may still break, or not behave as expected during testing," explains Franck Mazereel. This is the beginning of the long life cycle of an aeronautical engine. On the program: endurance, operability, fan flutter, vibratory endurance, performance tests... Impressive tests that are sometimes performed in a singular context. "During endurance or engineering tests, there is always a special atmosphere; both stressful and exhilarating. When you hear 'Get back!', you have to react quickly! Our role is to ensure the safety of the engine and the bench", continues Franck.
He is responsible for designing the engine connection and configuring the various computer systems before completing the test stages, during which the engine may be subjected to extreme conditions to test its strength. "If there are any concerns about retrieving the test data, I perform the initial analyses. The measurements are useful to the design office for improving what has been designed. It is this 'investigative' aspect that makes you want to keep coming to work every day. "
Continuous improvement as a guideline
If trust and information sharing are always essential in this organization, Franck feels it particularly on the bench. "In the control room, there are several of us operating. The bench team consists of a test technician, the installation manager and one or two test engineers. If there is a problem, we have to coordinate quickly,"he explains. A teamwork that is only possible with a mutual trust, a trust that Franck is keen to cultivate every day.
It is also a key value to improving processes. Franck observes this in particular in his role as coordinator of the test technician work group who meet every month to discuss various concerns and identify solutions together. "There is always room for improvement, and it's important that change also comes from the people in the business," he says.
Advanced tools available to the technician
Always progress but also keep up-to-date with technical knowledge, even in the digital age. "Back in the days of the CFM56*, we recorded our observations in large notebooks, and the number of visible measurements was very small," recalls Franck, who has known this world for more than 30 years and is now a test technician. "Today, we are faced with a multitude of screens where the values returned by the probes and sensors are displayed and much of the information is automatically entered on a computer. "
This development does not change the necessary qualities of a test technician: extreme levels of concentration and high vigilance. "You have to have eyes everywhere: both on the screens and the measurement values, to detect any abnormal changes," Franck notes. "If we only worry when a light turns red, we'll miss the point where the value starts to deviate from the benchmark. "
From the benches of the former Snecma private technical school which he joined in 1987 (now Safran Aircraft Engines), to the test benches, Franck has always enjoyed learning and has trained continuously to acquire new skills. Today, he is delighted with the actions taken to guarantee the transfer of knowledge , with the result that the test technician's profession is valued as an important player in the development of an engine.
The archeology enthusiast loves to look into the past, to discover how Man devised the most significant inventions in history. "We have no idea of the forgotten innovations that we could have used," he reveals. "When I started at Safran, I didn't realize how much brainpower, energy and time it takes to design an engine: it's really technological excellence, fine watchmaking! It is a pleasure and a pride to contribute to this intricate work for all these years."
*Engines designed, developed and produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE, to power Airbus (A320 family) and Boeing (737 family) single-aisle commercial aircraft, as well as several military applications.
1987: entrance to the Snecma private technical school (CAP fitter, CAP draftsman and professional BAC)
1991: test engineer for development test benches at the Villaroche site (77)
2002: test technician
2022: consultant test technician
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