On Thursday November 16th the NAG (in cooperation with DGTA) organized its fourth Aero Engine Round Table meeting of 2017 at the facilities of Chromalloy in Tilburg. The session was organized around the theme “Innovation in Repair” with a focus on the repair development needs for components of the next generation engines such as the GTF, LEAP-X, and GEnX. The Round Table started off with a presentation by Ron van Gestel highlighting the strategy and repair capabilities of Chromalloy worldwide as well as of the Tilburg operations followed by a shop tour. Subsequently, the current market dynamics were reviewed such as the advent of more reliable engines leading to a potential reduction in shop visits, the costly investments associated with future sophisticated repair techniques, and engine OEMs who are less likely to disclose new repair techniques.
The 15 participants shared their experiences in repair development and the strategic and technical challenges faced in developing new repairs. Several theorems were discussed such as whether on-condition maintenance would make a business case for repair development harder to substantiate, whether non-OEM aligned repair shops would be better off in becoming a specialist in one repair technique or in repairing a group of similar products, or whether patent protection is an effective countermeasure to competition. From a technical point of view, the difficulties surrounding repair development of CMC-based engine components were reviewed as well as the anticipation that additive manufacturing will become the “new repair in town” as it may be a cost-effective substitute to existing (laser-based) welding techniques.
The Round Table was concluded with a networking session thus allowing for a more one-on-one sharing of opinions, experiences and business cards.
The session was made possible by a topsector HTSM TKI grant.