Two MSc Assignments: (1) Additive Manufacturing (AM) for production support tooling and (2) Additive Manufacturing for SRU production:
Fokker Services, as a TC (Type Certificate) holder of the Fokker aircraft, strives to support the Fokker fleet until 2030 and beyond. However, due to the declination of the operational fleet and consequently the decrease in the demand volume, supply disruptions such as obsolescence are inevitable. In addition, because of age related wear and tear, demand for certain parts which have been out of production for many years, may arise. For such instances, Fokker Services has established an obsolescence management protocol which includes repair options up to redesign. In order to extend the obsolescence management capability with AM possibilities, a research has been conducted at Fokker services with the following (key) economical results :
- AM provides the most sustainable solution to supply discontinuation compared to the other options.
- Setup costs for AM in the commercial aviation industry is relatively high, because of the stringent certification requirements. Therefore, the economical benefits from AM can only be exploited when either the right balance between spare part value and demand volume exists or when the non-recurring costs related to certification can be reduced
Based on the above findings, Fokker services would like to continue exploration of AM usage in the form of the following 2 assignments:
- The conventional manufacturing techniques often require (specialized) tooling or molds (in case of castings) which might be misplaced during the lifecycle of an aircraft. The absence of such production support tooling, upon demand for a spare part, will result into supply disruption. In such cases, sometimes the required production support tooling will need to manufactured which could result into substantial setup costs as these are also produced based on conventional methods. Owing to the fact that the certification requirements for the production support tooling is less restrictive, AM could be utilized in order to reduce the non-recurring costs. Consequently, Fokker Services would like to investigate the possibilities of using AM as production support aid in order to improve the obsolescence management capabilities. The main purpose of this assignment is twofold, first a decision support model must be designed which encompasses the most common (technical/economical) solutions to supply problems and enables the pair-wise comparison amongst the preferred conventional solution and the AM one. Second, the certification implications of AM solution need to be adressed which subsequently is used as an input for the decision support tool.
- In addition to spare parts supply, Fokker Services also offers component repair services. To this purpose, a significant amount of piece parts (SRU) stock is maintained which is imperative for guaranteeing acceptable turn around times for the customers. However, due to investment limitations and configuration differences, not all piecepart can be put on stock (in ample quantities). In case of a shortage, such piece parts might be backordered with long leadtimes which impinges on the turn around times of the component repairs. Consequently, on occasion the shops are allowed to produce simple pieceparts for only the purpose of accomplishing the repair. The certification process in the latter case (for SRUs) is less restrictive compared to LRUs and hence AM could be the preferred manufacturing candidate because of the flexibility in production. Therefore, Fokker Services would like to investigate the benefits of AM for the component repair support. The aim of the project is developing a decision model for SRU’s (**similar to the one already made for LRUs).