[my] Safran is REACH
The European REACH regulation concerning the prohibition of certain chemical products will come into force as of September 21, 2017 and will be applicable to all industrial sectors. Pascal Frou, the Safran REACH Program Manager, tells us about the development of methods to replace certain substances used in the Group’s industrial processes as we take a look back at what was achieved in 2015 and the outlook for 2016.
A total of 26 processes and 85,000 part numbers are concerned by the REACH* regulation in the short term: ensuring compliance with this European regulation is therefore a major challenge for Safran. It is also an opportunity for Safran to reassert its commitment to ensuring the safety of its products and operations as regards its staff, customers and suppliers and in order to protect the environment.
The Group already had a policy of monitoring the use of chemicals?
For several years now, Safran has indeed been working on replacing certain chemicals used in our manufacturing process, such as hexavalent chromium** and cadmium. For the last five years, the Materials and Processes Department has been working on replacement methods and the Industrial Division has been developing alternative production tools in our factories and with our sub-contractors. All the Group?s companies are working hand in hand to meet the compliance requirement of the European REACH regulation.
?Finding substitutes means innovating?
REACH compliance also provides Safran with opportunities, because finding substitutes means innovating. Today, we can further consolidate our leading market position by developing replacement processes that are benchmarks in the aerospace industry. Working in partnership with other major manufacturers in the sector, such as Airbus Helicopters, our approach is built on three priorities: harmonizing the replacement processes, keeping qualification costs to a minimum by pooling resources and ensuring the sustainability of our supply chain by helping our sub-contractors implement the same process.
How far along is the REACH project today?
The development of replacement processes, in partnership with various research organizations (notably UTINAM*** and Chimie ParisTech), is well advanced. Moreover, we draw on the support of REACH exchange and coordination structures so as to ensure our technical choices are in line with those of other prime contractors in the aerospace sector. So, several replacement methods have already been developed, and two of them are now used by our companies and by our suppliers and sub-contractors.
What are the key challenges for the project in 2016?
2016 will be a decisive year for Safran, since the majority of the replacement solutions will be deployed. This will mean updating the plans and files defining the materials on which the new processes are to be applied, and providing support regarding the industrial changes resulting from the new processes, both in our workshops and in those of our sub-contractors, in order to maintain production capacity during the transition phase. It also means that all the people involved in the project must remain mobilized in order to ensure the success of REACH, and to establish Safran as the benchmark in an increasingly competitive and responsible industry.
*(Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances)
** This chemical is used for its anti-corrosion properties in coatings and surface treatments on systems such as thrust reversers, nacelles, engines and landing gears.