By Bjorn Fehrm
November 5, 2019, ©. Leeham News at Aviation Forum Munich: The Aviation Forum kicked off in Munich today, a yearly production and supply chain event started by the Hannover based Institute for Production Management nine years ago.
Today’s conference themes were How the OEMs benefit from Supplier Innovation, Additive Manufacturing trends and discussions around Outsourcing and Insourcing.
One of the interesting presentations was by the CEO of Latecoere, Yannick Assouad, who talked about Latcoere’s new Aerostructures Factory of type 4.0.
Latecoere is a French aircraft manufacturer created in Toulouse 50 years before Airbus. It’s today the world’s leading supplier of aircraft doors. If you have flown on an Airbus A320 or Boeing 787 you have passed Latecoere’s doors. It’s also active in airliner wiring systems and other aerostructures.
To support its door production it has created a new 4.0 factory in Toulouse which is producing complete finished parts in a fully automated process running 24/7.
The factory has cut the production time for key components for the doors from three months to three weeks. While doing so it has improved quality, cost and supply reliability to the door production.
The new factory is an example where changing a classical industrial setup from a network of suppliers, doing their part of the finished product, to a fully insourced setup where the input is base materials in one end and out comes finished parts on the other end, has been the key to success.
The example is not showcasing a reverse of the outsourcing trend of recent years. It shows the production strategy has to adapt to the job at hand. There is no single best way of going about the industrialization of products.
In this case, the door parts are typical machined metal parts of aluminum or titanium. They need a multitude of machining steps before they can be surface treated as finished parts. This lent itself to a fully insourced automated process chain.
By embracing factory 4.0 principles like:
the production of a typical complex part for the Latecoere door production could be reduced from three to four months to three weeks. At the same time, the consistency in quality improved and the reliability and precision in just in time supply to door assembly increased.
Total machining time, which is a measure of the efficiency of the operation decreased by 20%. The shortened throughput and machining time reduced the cost for the part.
The total digitalization of the work orders, planning and throughput combined with capture of digital quality and efficiency data has enabled the statistical analysis of all these parameters to understand the production better.
Latecoere started the factory project in 2017 and has continued investing in the factory since. The present add on is a fully automated surface treatment, finishing the chain. Now the factory is “material in” and “painted product” out.
The successful insourcing for Latercoere’s 4.0 factory builds on:
Going forward we will see the unidirectional trend versus outsourcing of non-core activities to go bi-directional. Core activities will be analyzed for insourcing, to improve cost, quality and supply reliability.
The outsourcing mantra will be replaced by an out- and in-sourcing debate.