Q&A with Safran Nacelles CEO Jean-Paul Alary
At this month's Farnborough Airshow in the U.K., CEO Jean-Paul Alary provided an update on Safran Nacelles' very busy 2016, and the company's achievements so far this year.
Question: Safran Nacelles has achieved its goal of evolving from a manufacturer of nacelle components to becoming a supplier of complete nacelle systems. How is Safran Nacelles doing in accomplishing the important milestones in 2016 for all of its programs?
Answer: We had a very busy first half of the year, and Safran Nacelles has done well in meeting the challenges.
For the A320neo, we're delivering to Airbus, as Safran Nacelles' responsibilities include integrating our nacelles with the CFM International LEAP-1A engines – providing complete propulsion systems. The A320neo is the fastest production ramp-up of any civil jetliner, and we've achieved all of the milestones on time and with good quality: starting with the first deliveries, followed by certification of the A320neo…and we are now ready to support the entry-in-service and the accelerated production rate.
On the A330neo, Safran Nacelles is preparing to deliver the initial ground test hardware for the nacelles that equip this jetliner's Rolls-Royce Trent 7000s; while for GE Aviation's Passport engine – where we are working in the framework of the Nexcelle joint venture with our partner MRAS – all of the nacelle hardware is available for the Bombardier Global 7000 business jet's upcoming first flight.
In our other program with the Nexcelle joint venture, which involves supplying nacelles for the COMAC C919, we're finalizing the documentation to support the certification of the aircraft's LEAP-1C engines this summer, leading to a first flight of the jetliner anticipated before year-end.
We're also on schedule with the titanium engine exhaust systems for Boeing's 777X, having passed the CDR (critical design review) milestone, and now are moving into the manufacturing phase. Boeing has acknowledged Safran Nacelles for its "working-together" spirit, and we will be delivering the first hardware next month – on time!
Question: To achieve such results with its various new programs, Safran Nacelles has made significant investments across its facilities. Have these efforts showed their results?
Answer: Yes! We're using the term "Ready to climb" in describing all of the energy and work from our teams – not only in being ready for our new programs, but meeting the production ramp-up requirements from our customers.
As an example, we have markedly increased the automation used across all of Safran Nacelles' production sites, which includes the moving line assembly process now in operation for A320neo nacelles at Le Havre, France, and there is another soon to be operational at our Casablanca, Morocco facility.
Our U.K. operation is involved as well, as we have introduced robotic fiber placement machines for the lay-up of composite material in our clean room at Burnley, where the initial A330neo nacelle parts have been produced.
And there's more to come! Safran Nacelles has created a new facility at Hamburg, Germany, from which deliveries of A320neo integrated propulsion systems to Airbus will begin later this year; and we'll be unveiling additional "factory of the future" initiatives at Le Havre.
Question: Meeting the development and delivery requirements for new programs also requires the backing of Safran Nacelles' supply chain. What has been done to ensure your suppliers are up to the task?
Answer: There is no question that the pressures and challenges today may be greater than at any time in the history of our industry, thereby requiring extra efforts from both the Tier 1 contractors such as Safran Nacelles and their suppliers.
This is why Safran Nacelles created a program called "READY," which establishes close relationships with our suppliers to ensure they are meeting their engagements in terms of capability, capacity and quality. It involves a constant monitoring throughout the supply chain, and "READY" is providing quite good results.