Aviation expertise in Poland

Poland is an attractive location for the aviation industry. The MTU site in this country is growing fast. And now a new joint venture has been founded.

01.2018 | Text: Thorsten Rienth

Text:
Thorsten Rienth writes as a freelance journalist for AEROREPORT. In addition to the aerospace industry, his technical writing focuses on rail traffic and the transportation industry.

(strich:Component production) A V2500 ring is deburred at MTU Aero Engines Polska. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Component production A V2500 ring is deburred at MTU Aero Engines Polska.

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Component production A V2500 ring is deburred at MTU Aero Engines Polska.

(strich:Module assembly) A PW2000 low-pressure turbine is assembled at MTU Aero Engines Polska. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Module assembly A PW2000 low-pressure turbine is assembled at MTU Aero Engines Polska.

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Module assembly A PW2000 low-pressure turbine is assembled at MTU Aero Engines Polska.

(strich:Repair Engineering) As part of their job, development engineers at MTU Aero Engines Polska work on new repair technologies. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Repair Engineering As part of their job, development engineers at MTU Aero Engines Polska work on new repair technologies.

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Repair Engineering As part of their job, development engineers at MTU Aero Engines Polska work on new repair technologies.

(strich:Post-processing) Engine components undergo cleaning at MTU Aero Engines Polska. Hover over the image for a bigger view

Post-processing Engine components undergo cleaning at MTU Aero Engines Polska.

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Post-processing Engine components undergo cleaning at MTU Aero Engines Polska.

Under normal circumstances, managers are advised to keep a rein on their emotions. But there are also times when a display of emotion is perfectly accept­able. Dr. Uwe Zachau could not hide his enthu­siasm a moment longer. He speaks of a milestone for both companies, an ambitious ramp-up plan, an excellent and highly motivated team. Zachau is describing a new main­tenance, repair and over­haul (MRO) joint venture between Luft­hansa Technik and MTU Aero Engines that bears the name Engine Main­tenance Europe or EME Aero for short. Zachau is the COO of the new company; Derrick Siebert the CEO. He says: “We are paving the way for MRO of the new genera­tion of Geared Turbofan™ engines in Europe.” Both partners hold a stake of 50 percent in the new company.

The joint venture will be located in Poland, where MTU has already been able to gather many years of experi­ence. In 2007, the com­pany set up MTU Aero Engines Polska in a special eco­nomic zone in the south­east corner of the country. “This zone is the eco­nomic power­house of the region,” says the regional admini­stration. Many well-known companies have opened branches with pro­duction and research facilities there. The original plan was to stop offering business advan­tages in the Polish special eco­nomic zones in 2020. But the special rights granted to these zones have now been extended up until 2026. Almost every month, new firms are moving in.

Region with a tradition in aviation

Much like MTU did roughly ten years ago. In the space of just nine months it built the 18,000-square-meter MTU Aero Engines Polska facility right oppo­site the inter­national air­port in Jasionka near Rzeszów and equipped it with the first machines. MTU has invested a total of over 50 million euros in this project. The deputy Polish prime minister and finance minister attended the opening ceremony in May 2009.

Video: MTU Aero Engines Polska Article with video

MTU Aero Engines Polska

MTU Aero Engines Polska began operations in Poland’s Aviation Valley in April 2009. In the south­east corner of the country just outside of Rzeszów, this special eco­nomic zone is home to more than 80 avia­tion companies with pro­duc­tion and research facilities. To the video ...

“Here in Rzeszów we found a high concen­tration of aviation expertise and an excellent infra­structure”, says Krzysztof Zuzak. He has been man­aging director of the site from the very begin­ning. Over 14,000 students attend the local poly­technic where the propor­tion of future avi­ation engineers is especially high. “Rzeszów has a long tradition in air­craft con­struc­tion,” says Zuzak. “More than 60 per­cent of our engineers come from the poly­technic here in Rzeszów.” There is a faculty of me­chani­cal Engineering and Aero­nautics that offers courses and speciali­zations related to the avi­ation industry. Dr. Joachim Wulf, head of devel­opment at the site from 2009 until some years ago, once said that: “Rzeszów is a very charming university town like Tübingen in Germany.”

MTU started with the devel­opment and manu­facture of vanes and blades for low-pressure turbines, the assembly of low-pres­sure turbines and repair of air­craft parts. The advan­tages of the location, the town and its sur­round­ings, soon became clear. Especially since all three areas of expertise, namely devel­opment, pro­duction and repair of engine compo­nents were brought together under one roof here: a first for MTU.

Expansion is part of MTU’s investment and growth strategy

The initial workforce of 200 grew fast. Four years later, when the decision was made to expand the site, the work­force had grown to 500 – as of 2017, it is more than 750. Moreover, the fore­sight at the planning stage has now paid off. “We designed the building so that it could be extended for future require­ments,” says Zuzak. With the addi­tion of the new build­ings, the Jasionka site now covers almost three hectares. Just like the blisk pro­duc­tion facility in Munich and the logistics center in Hannover, which were com­pleted at about the same time, the expansion is part of MTU’s invest­ment and growth strategy.

The extension in Rzeszów houses prepara­tory work for the new Geared Turbofan™ engines as well as projects, which resulted from the upshare in the A320’s V2500 engine program. There, the Polish plant is now respon­sible for logistics, procure­ment, design and quality assurance. It also bundles the module assembly activi­ties for various commer­cial programs. At the moment, the devel­opment depart­ment is being enlarged. It will offer jobs for 140 engineers in total.

The new Polish joint venture between Luft­hansa Technik und MTU Aero Engines will begin PW1000G engine repairs in 2020. Staff training as well as simu­lation and prepa­ration of the main­tenance processes are set to start in 2018.

The best of both worlds

At EME Aero, the teams are currently final­izing the details of an ambi­tious ramp-up plan for the shop. This is a complex matter says Jana Kotlar, the project manager at MTU. “Not only will we have to build a new facility, we also had to imple­ment stable pro­cesses in a relatively short timespan.”

At some point this year, employee training will go ahead. And a subse­quent simu­lation phase to test every last detail of the MRO process from order dispatch to final accept­ance will take place. “We use the best of both worlds in designing our processes,” says Kotlar. The expansion project comprises more than a dozen subprojects. “In each case, one partner will take the lead, but process inter­faces are seamless.”

The joint venture benefits from the consid­er­able expertise accu­mulated by Luft­hansa Technik and MTU in their respective fields. Since 2003, they have been operating a similar 50:50 MRO joint venture in Malaysia. It specializes in the repair of airfoils for low-press­ure turbines and high-pressure com­pressors. “We also know each other well from working together in Germany,” says Kotlar, “for example through mutual support in test runs or piece parts.”

The first PW1000G engine will arrive at the shop for main­tenance in 2020. Once the ramp-up has been completed, EME Aero will employ a work­force of 1,000.

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