Standard Aero Super-Sizes its engine maintenance capabilities

 - October 8, 2007, 10:06 AM

“Back in the mid 1990s we made a strategic decision to enter the corporate and regional-airline sectors,” Ron Jonkman, v-p of marketing and business development for Standard Aero, told AIN. “We were doing PT6 work and realized the future was larger engines.” In 1995 the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada company purchased TOPPS of Tilburg, the Netherlands. TOPPS had been doing government contract maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work on the PW100. Standard Aero immediately began marketing the MRO capability to corporate and regional-airline clients too.

“We continued to expand our presence by getting licensed for the Rolls-Royce AE3007 and General Electric CF34 engines,” Jonkman said. “As a result, today we have a good position in both the regional and corporate markets. The Embraer ERJ and Citation X use the AE3007 and the CF34 is on Challengers and CRJs, among others.”

Jonkman said that despite significant expansion over the past 10 years, Standard Aero has stayed focused on customer support. “We have developed systems and processes that allow us to produce a quality product with good on-wing performance and very short turn-times,” he said. “We understand that a corporate or regional aircraft sitting on the ground is losing money for its owner.”

One of the company’s goals is to continue to improve its processes to drive down the turn-time on all engines to no more than 15 days. “Our AE3007 line is now routinely turning in 20 days or less,” Jonkman said. “We continue to share those improvements with our other product lines.” Standard Aero uses several tactics to achieve that end, such as its cycle-management customer-support process.

One of the primary drivers behind short turn-times is Standard Aero’s cellular shop module. The company has moved from a traditional service facility paradigm with a host of back shops to a different type of production-oriented concept–a cellular production module, with each cell being a self-contained unit.

“When you have to send a part away from the engine for any reason, it disrupts the process and at best results in a delay,” Jonkman said. “It also provides an opportunity for mistakes and miscommunication. What we’ve done is design a cell concept that maximizes ownership of the repair process within a given cell. It also reduces the time and distance a given engine will travel on the production floor. Each cell contains the personnel necessary to get the job done, from engineers to welders and machinists. They work together as a team right there by the engine, where they can constantly monitor the progress of the engine’s repair and the required delivery schedule.”

While pay-by-the-hour maintenance is becoming common throughout the industry, Standard Aero offers a program called TEAM (Total Engine Asset Management). Operators that contract with the company not only get field-service support, but they participate in an engine-monitoring system that analyzes engine/mission profiles to determine the best solution for individual engine maintenance needs. The system records such data as engine events, cycles and usage rates.

According to Jonkman, the advantage of TEAM is cost modeling to predict engine maintenance costs before doing the work. “It helps us complete the job within a predetermined window of time and it helps the customer’s budget-planning process,” he said. “What it does is keep the product on-wing longer and results in less downtime for the customer.”