Braking an aircraft is a complex and safety-critical operation. With over thirty years’ experience in carbon fiber brakes, this division of the leading aeronautical equipment manufacturer is on the verge of making a technological breakthrough.
With ESPRIT and MHAC Technologies, we had already chosen to combine simplicity with service. For this important step towards turning-milling, this choice is proving to be even more expedient.Olivier Clausse, Methods Manager, Safran Landing Systems
At the Safran Landing System plant in Villeurbanne (69), 200 employees are divided across 3 different, yet complementary areas of work. Whilst some focus on weaving carbon fibres, others carry out the heat treatments required for their conglomeration into compact and resistant crudes, which will then be machined by the third group of professionals. The manufacturing of carbon fibre brake discs for aircrafts therefore requires skills from three strong areas of competence. In the machine shop belonging to this historic ex. Messier Bugatti Dowty site, a team of around forty highly skilled professionals work 24/7, all day every day, 365 days a year. For some time, the team led by the machining production methods manager, Olivier Clausse, has been working on the necessary investments to continue to improve the quality, productivity and manufacturing flexibility of these safety-critical parts. Mhac Technologies, their partner in machining programming, has been assisting them in this process.
Programming releases the brakes
When programming CNC lathes and 3 to 5 axis milling centres, ESPRIT software enables a quick setup thanks to automatic macros which allow machining origins, discrepancies and assembly to be defined. Patrice Gaydoux, an experienced programming technician, praises in particular "the automatic choice of machining strategies according to the types required thanks to the knowledge base integrated into Esprit and the Cloud". Automation and optimisation of operations can be done according to the crude, measured directly on the machine thanks to the specific measuring cycles developed by the machine manufacturer and managed by the software. The service provided by the regional software distributor is equally of appreciated assistance. The MHAC Technologies’ tailor-made post processors were developed taking into account the particularities of the machines in Safran Landing System's workshop. "The support provided by Mhac Technologies has always been very quick and efficient", maintains Olivier Clausse. However, the increase in orders coming from the aeronautics sector has pushed Safran to review its work methods in order to become increasingly competitive and quick to react, whilst still guaranteeing the reliability of its products. "One-time assembly is becoming a necessity in order to limit work-in-progress, guarantee better quality and offer stronger reactivity", emphasises Olivier Clausse. Therefore, Investment in new machining and milling equipment is now intended, although the number of programmes must be reduced first in order to facilitate and speed up this technological advance.
Safran Landing Systems chose ESPRIT software for its simplicity of installation and the service provided by its distributor, MHAC Technologies.
It's a Family Affair
The idea, in part, arose from the inspection of the carbon disks on three-dimensional measuring machines. Tasked with studying this component of the programming process, production methods engineer Mylène Loubatières defends the idea of programme standardisation: "We can define several families of disk brakes, which are only differentiated by a few dimension elements or machining operations", she claims. With Mhac Technologies, the idea of creating programming macros was born, giving rise to the definition of a few dozen families, instead of over one hundred programmes, as currently exists. Consequently, the transition towards full machining and milling programming of disks currently processed on several machines can be achieved more easily and quickly. "With Esprit software and Mhac Technologies, we have already made the decision to combine simplicity and service. In this important step towards machining-milling, this choice is even more astute", emphasises Olivier Clausse.
Ruben Nazarian, Patrick Gaydoux, Olivier Clausse and Mylène Loubatières of the Safran Landing Systems method office, and Patrick Gaspard of MHAC Technologies.
At present, tests are being done on the existing machines, and they are proving conclusive. In a year from now at most, Safran Landing Systems will have reached its goal. With the help from artificial intelligence programming, combined with the real intelligence of the partners in this technological leap, aircraft braking will be able to further accelerate its transformation.