Paul Lavin, director of logistics programmes, defence and space market segment for Honeywell, says the defence after-market services business is changing and Honeywell is changing with it to meet new demands. He speaks with Steve Nichols

Q: How do you see the after-market services business changing?

A: The business is no longer a ‘mom and pop' operation. The dynamics are changing – growing up if you like – and we're leading the market in how our business deals with its customers.

The technology needed to service our customers' needs has moved on from the old days. Customers still want fast turnaround, but they are also looking for technological innovation to bring about even longer mean-time between failures and better engineering expertise to bring better ‘power by the hour' solutions. With about 40% of aircraft fleets now more than 25 years old this is becoming even more important.

Q: How much is this business worth to you?

A: With the business split 65% spares and 35% repairs, this market segment is worth $1.3 billion a year to Honeywell and supports more than 3,700 employees with customers in 80 countries.

Q: How is Honeywell adapting meet the new business requirements?

A: Honeywell has set up repair centres

of excellence for advanced repairs to cope with the growing complexity within the industry. We have cold section and avionics centres in Phoenix, Arizona; a hot section centre in Greer, South Carolina; a combustors centre in Olomouch, Czech Republic; and a brakes specialist in South Bend, Indiana.

Q: What technologies have you invested in?

A: Electron beam physical vapour

deposition (EB/PVD), 3D adaptive welding, intelligent machining and special coatings, and hand-held laser systems. We intend to lead the field in the use of such technologies and so lead the market in how we do business with our customers.

Q: But what does this all mean to the customer?

A: Let's take the Boeing F-15 accessory gearbox as an example. The unit warps and distorts in use and a conventional overhaul might just have looked at case repairs and a ‘clean, strip and refinish'. Now, we are able to do a full dimensional restoration to bring the unit up to an ‘as new' state, reconfiguring the casing back to its original shape as well.

Q: What can technology bring to the wheel and brakes business?

A: We are now handling dimensional and surface restoration on aluminium brake components too, as well as friction restoration. The object of the exercise is to not just return the unit back to full functionality, but to improve it for the future as well. We aim to drive down the number of failures.

Q: What methods are you using to do this?

A: Honeywell is incentivised to do this. The implementation of performance-based methods means it is easier for us to point to our performance data to help us win new contracts in the future. Our customers know that they get more for their money and Honeywell learns more about the product at the same time. Design for Six Sigma is taking a look across our whole business to see where failures occur in the repair of aftermarket components. We can use that knowledge to design out those flaws in the next generation of new products.

Source: Flight Daily News