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MiniTec’s Lean solutions for Aerospace applications

19 June 2018

Lean manufacturing and management techniques may well involve capital projects which mount up to a considerable overall cost to an operation. It is important however to bear in mind that very often relatively low cost projects can make improvements to the operation which, for a pretty low capital outlay will deliver a payback over a very short period of time.

Making an operation lean – and it need not be restricted to a manufacturing operation – is all about the elimination of wastage in a process leading to greater efficiencies, shorter delivery times of a product or service, and a reduction in unnecessary costs to the operation.

Wastage in a process will cover all sorts of issues and it is not the intention here to provide a definitive list of where wastage may occur but simply to provoke the debate: “is how we do (this task) the best possible way, or are there things that could be improved which we may not have thought about before?”

An illustration of such a debate and the very simple solution which was arrived at will have a ring of universality about it to many.

The Engineering and Maintenance Division of a well-known UK based airline group discovered an enormously time wasteful part of the traditional working practice.

The introduction of simple, ergonomically designed mobile workstations solved quite simply the old problem of the maintenance engineers not having a workstation close by that part of the aircraft that was being worked upon and having to waste a lot of time walking back and forth to the very few computer equipped workstations located around the perimeter of the large hangar.

Together with MiniTec UK Ltd, one of the leading manufacturers of modular aluminium profile systems, the client designed customised workstations to fulfil their requirements and eliminate the hitherto wasteful working practices. The workstations, situated in close proximity to the aircraft, are an integral part of a highly efficient zonal station where aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul teams are assigned their numerous tasks and allocated tools and equipment via the Wi-Fi connected stations – which are equipped with computers, data displays and printers. 

Consisting of a mother and extension station for standing use, the various design types utilises the flexibility of the MiniTec aluminium profile system to the full with a complement of standard modular components and third-party electronic equipment that is easily integrated into the assembly with standard MiniTec adapters and fixings.

The workstations help provide a quality and consistent approach to aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul. A generous 2m x 1.2m inclined working surface is finished in a durable high-density plastic which is impervious to the chemicals and compounds encountered in the aircraft industry. Each workstation supplied includes a power inlet and multi-way distribution boards, a Wi-Fi router, brackets for 32” and/or 24” data displays, and document holders.

The fully portable units use lockable swivel castors and the aluminium end and rear panels are finished with the client’s livery and logos for a smart and aesthetic appearance that perfectly blends with the exceptionally clean work areas.

Modular aluminium profile systems are ideal for providing a basic mecanno type approach to constructing customised workstations and manufacturing lines, large or small.

Indeed it is fitting that the claim adopted by MiniTec in their logo – the Art of Simplicity describes very well the assertion that an operation get “lean” often by looking critically at a working standard and arriving at simple and easy ways to eliminate wastage.

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