“Maintenance is a job where you never get bored”
Nothing about Hugo Castan suggested he’d end up in industrial maintenance. But that’s the path he chose at the age of 29, when he took over as Head of the Maintenance and Metrology Department for Safran Nacelles’ integration sites. It was an opportunity to challenge certain stereotypes and restore prestige to an often misunderstood profession.
After starting his career in the Industrialization Methods Department of Safran Nacelles, Hugo decided three years ago to move into industrial maintenance. He says he made the choice out of curiosity and a desire to get out of his comfort zone, after five years designing tooling for the Airbus A320neo and A330neo nacelles. “When I was asked to take over maintenance at three integration site*, I must admit that I hesitated,” he recalls. “It’s a profession that’s not very visible or well known, and it doesn't have a very positive image, because it’s often called upon in an emergency during breakdowns.”
Maintenance is a dynamic and interesting job where you never get bored
Determined to discover – and change – the reality on the ground, he decided to take up the challenge. And he is still happy about it today. “Contrary to what people think, maintenance is a dynamic and interesting job where you never get bored! Between planned maintenance and breakdown management, negotiating subcontracts and working on improvement projects, you never know what the next day brings. It’s a job that’s very close to production and geared towards our internal customers. I also work with a number of people – mechanics, painters, quality, methods, purchasing, etc. – which is very rewarding and gives me a ‘macro’ view of the company.”
Hugo sees this change as a logical continuation of his journey:
“I knew the tooling because I designed it, so maintenance allowed me to continue to follow its life cycle. Also, knowing the manufacturers of the machinery helps me when it comes to sourcing spare parts. Maintenance is all about networking!”
As the head of a team of eight people, Hugo divides his work between defining and implementing the maintenance policy, managing service providers, managing orders for services and spare parts, and optimizing performance, whether in terms of equipment availability or repair times. “My goal is to spur change in order to challenge the way we operate and break out of ‘firefighting’ mode,” he says. The idea is to think ahead more...and reduce uncertainty. This also requires digitalization, including by installing sensors that will allow predictive maintenance to be carried out.”
To clear his head after a busy day, Hugo rides his bike, goes skiing, or sails on a catamaran. And while he regularly maintains his own sports equipment, he recognizes that you don’t have to be a tinkerer to work in maintenance.
“Above all, you have to like fast-moving jobs, be curious, and have a production-oriented vision. The rest is learned on the job. There are many ways to get into it, especially through industrialization or the design offices. The more varied the profiles are, the better the maintenance department will be, for those who work in it, but also for the company.”
A job with a future!
And that’s good news, because Safran Nacelles is recruiting! “The industrial park was renovated and modernized during the scale-up of the A320neo and A330neo programs, so it will eventually require maintenance,” Hugo predicts. “That offers great prospects for this job in the years to come!”
*Colomiers (near Toulouse), Hamburg, Germany, and Mobile, Alabama (USA). These sites are dedicated to painting and integrating nacelles into engines before they are delivered to the aircraft manufacturers’ final assembly line.
- Since 2019: Maintenance and Metrology Manager for the integration sites – Safran Nacelles
- 2014: Industrialization Methods Engineer for A320neo and A330neo – Safran Nacelles
- 2013: internship as an Industrialization Methods Engineer – Safran Nacelles
- 2012: internship as a Methods Engineer/Assistant – Safran Aircraft Engines
- 2013: graduated from SIGMA Clermont engineering school (Clermont-Ferrand)