Harbin Hafei AIRBUS Partners with Plataine and Argosy for Improved Traceability, Efficiency and Yield

Ginger Gardiner [CompositesWorld]

Joint venture composite manufacturing center implements Plataine solution for tracking parts, materials and tools.

Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre (HHACMC, Harbin, China) is a joint venture between Airbus (Toulouse, France) and its Chinese partners, responsible for manufacturing and assembly of the carbon fiber rudders, elevators and belly fairings for the A350 XWB and also the rudder for the A320 using the latest composite manufacturing technologies based on Airbus’s standards and processes.

The Challenge

HHACMC used to extensively rely on paperwork, and cutting-machine original software to create their cut plans, and to track and manage material, parts and assets as they move on the factory floor from one station to another. Prepreg rolls, kits, assemblies, tools and other production floor assets were managed and tracked using a paper-based ‘travel document’, where ETL (Exposure Time Left) was manually calculated and recorded at each station. The inevitable outcome was inefficient utilization of material, manual errors causing re-work and scrap, lack of real-time visibility, and no record of its impact on quality.

Plataine’s Solution: Intelligent Manufacturing Automation

Harbin Hafei Airbus partnered with Plataine (Waltham, MA, US) to develop best practices aimed at reducing the factory’s reliance on manual processes and improving their decision-making capabilities across the entire production floor. Plataine’s professional services team worked closely with HHACMC to successfully implement and integrate Plataine’s solution with the factory’s already installed systems, allowing HHACMC to go live with Plataine within a period of just three months.

By tracking parts, material and tools using Plataine’s software, HHACMC can accurately monitor items’ movement on the production floor. ‘In & out of freezer’ times are automatically calculated by Plataine’s software, including material expiration date and exposure time. This automation increases quality and enables staff to optimize material selection and minimize waste, and will be implemented in a new warehouse organization in June.

Plataine’s software solution continuously collects IIoT-based data, analyzes it and raises alerts such as material that is close-to or exceeded expiration date and exposure time, tools that require maintenance, and more.

For the purpose of HHACMC’s reporting and audit requirements, Plataine’s solution builds a full part genealogy by creating and maintaining the digital thread for each stage of the production process. Additionally, Plataine’s solution optimizes the cut & kit processes at HHACMC while considering all relevant production elements such as customer orders and inventory on hand. During the pilot phase, HHACMC experienced significant material utilization improvement, as well as increased staff efficiency, while digitizing and automating the production environment, which is expected to improve both product quality & quality control.

“It was our goal to optimize our processes and deploy an IIoT-based solution that will allow us to cut-down costs, identify problems on the factory floor, and take necessary actions to prevent them from accruing”, says Thierry Ducro, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain at HHACMC. “Together with Plataine, we are now confident we will set the best possible processes in place, allowing us to gain full visibility and traceability over material, WIP, tools and finished products, and to reduce re-work, improve our manufacturing yield and our overall efficiency,” stated Thierry Ducro, head of procurement and supply chain at HHACMC.

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