Highly complex production in the aviation industry with SAP MES

By introducing a future-proof, scalable Manufacturing Execution System (MES), MTU Aero Engines has realized the ideal of the "production of the future". The new harmonized system landscape and SAP MES-based online order execution ensure simplified, error-free and reliable work steps as well as efficient utilization of production capacities.

Three letters stand for top-class technology, and not just in aviation: MTU. The DAX-listed company, whose roots go back to the early days of powered flight, is today Germany's leading engine manufacturer. The company employs around 10,500 people worldwide and generates annual sales of around 4.2 billion euros. MTU is driving one of the central challenges of our time: the vision of emission-free flight. Under the motto "Driven by the visions of tomorrow", the company wants to make its contribution to the realization of this ambitious goal and take responsibility.

The potential of digitalization on the agenda

MTU contacted the SAP engineers at IGZ in order to be able to efficiently map the increasing demand and the rising quantities forecast for the coming years. MTU needed an implementation and realization partner with great expertise in online store floor control and real-time transparency - MTU's key challenges. IGZ also impressed MTU with its expertise and experience in the creation of templates with cross-location reusability and flexibility with regard to simultaneous work at several locations.

The engine manufacturer wanted to raise production efficiency to a new level with the help of digitalization. Further goals were efficient, paperless order processing in digital form and online visualization of the current planning, order and production situation.

The extensive functional options included in the standard system and the wide range of applications of SAP MES quickly emerged as ideal for reducing processing times, increasing production capacities and boosting productive machine hours.

In future, the SAP Manufacturing Execution System was to support production control in order to achieve more automated and efficient production of the highly complex engine components. The catalog of measures derived from this requirement was a central component of the strategic orientation for the IT modernization and digitalization of the production sites of MTU.

Rollout-capable template with high reusability and cloud readiness

The aim was to create an SAP MES template for all cross-site production processes for the manufacture of turbine components, including the highly complex blisk production (Blade Integrated Disk) with high reusability of the necessary SAP MES functions.

MTU wanted to use this template to simplify and accelerate the roll-out of SAP MES for other plants, areas and factories. SAP S/4 HANA integration, cloud readiness including ERP planning scenarios and the integration of NC programs were also taken into account. In preparation for the project, in-depth SAP MES deployment analyses were carried out at the Munich site for blisk production and in the area of housing and pane production in Rzeszów, Poland.

Based on the results of these preliminary analyses in terms of a structured implementation and migration strategy as well as budgeting and scheduling by IGZ, MTU decided on the pilot implementation at the Rzeszów site. Well equipped with project-specific preliminary training and IGZ developer training for MTU's IT staff, the project kicked off in November 2020 with the specification phase.

The specification for Munich began in parallel in March of the following year. This all went smoothly despite travel restrictions due to the pandemic. This was followed by the implementation of the pilot and finally the go-live of the SAP MES in Rzeszów in July 2022. The thorough project preparation using deployment analysis, including important training measures, was an important success factor for the smooth running of the project on schedule and within budget.

Online order execution for efficient processes

Thanks to the MES solution, employees are now supported in setting up components at their workstations by an online display of the worklist in accordance with ERP planning. Thanks to the digital integration of the production resource lists, they receive information on which tools and processing documents are required for the set-up process. In this way, employees are guided safely and clearly through the order via a standardized interface.

An automated link to the correct and necessary NC program for the job from Siemens Teamcenter enables the operational call for the job start in SAP MES.

The process was also significantly simplified by integrating the Guardus quality management system, which enables serial numbers to be transmitted during production and automatic online process interlocking using quality inspection steps. The online production data acquisition(PDA) provides up-to-date details of personnel, machine, set-up and overtime times for analysis. In addition, there is the so-called "Control-OK", which has been introduced for hourly target and actual feedback from the workers. This makes it possible to provide information and notes on lost time, which simplifies the traceability of the reasons for overtime.

In addition to the production order data, such as the work plan and parts list, serial numbers and remaining run times are also displayed on the monitor. This means that the entire machine status and production order progress can be viewed online and in real time during the respective production step. The automated machine data acquisition (MDA) via SAP PCo (SAP Plant Connectivity) also offers options for automated loss time recording, which flows directly into the OEE calculation in order to make further potential for increasing efficiency transparent.

Maximizing the potential of production control with SAP MES

By introducing SAP MES, MTU was able to harmonize and future-proof its process landscape. Order progress is now fully traceable down to individual machine level. Automatic process interlocking has also ensured that the subsequent process can only be started once the previous one has been fully completed. Working in close partnership with IGZ, the perfect solution for state-of-the-art production control was created.

SAP MES represents the future-proof basis for the roll-out to other systems, production areas and entire plants. MTU also benefits from a high degree of flexibility thanks to standardized store floor integration via OPC UA to SAP PCo.

This means that additional systems and machines can be connected via MQTT (Siemens Brownfield Connector), easily configured and connected directly via OPC UA . This creates a harmonized system landscape using uniform standard interfaces, and the open SAP MES system platform can now also be expanded in-house by MTU's own IT consultants thanks to the IGZ know-how transfer.

Paper-based reporting of lost time is no longer necessary, nor is manual document handling. Instead, electronic work instructions, Teamcenter integration and a uniform worker interface with an integrated viewer for the digital display of work documents support employees in performing their tasks safely and efficiently. Further support is provided by the targeted program jump to the Guardus QM system, which is used to verify the required quality checks. The online display of machine occupancy and order progress provides the desired transparency both during and after production. In this way, measures for further optimization can also be initiated at short notice.

Template as a driver for rapid rollouts

"The forecasts for cost savings compared to external third-party MES solutions were far exceeded with the SAP solution from IGZ," confirms Sascha Pirke, Project Manager at MTU.

"Due to the reusability of the SAP MES solution in Poland and other locations, there are significant synergy effects. In addition, the preconfigured template and the early transfer of know-how by IGZ ensured that the project ran quickly and smoothly."

This significantly reduced the time and organizational effort for MTU and tied up fewer resources.The template created, the well-founded project preparation and the migration concept with a structured, sequential phasing accelerated the go-live of SAP MES in Rzeszów.

It also made it possible to flexibly connect additional areas at the Polish site in parallel and to ensure a seamless roll-out of the standard software in Blisk production in Munich during an ongoing project.

MES-supported production of the future - cloud ready

Following the successful pilot launch in Rzeszów, MTU is now driving forward the production of the future with SAP MES. In Poland, the team there has started planning the roll-out for the next product line for blades.

Zuzanna Sroczyk, Head of IT at MTU's Rzeszów site, is satisfied: "Due to the variety of data generated in MES and the possibility of integration with other systems, SAP MES offers us many opportunities for automation and digitalization for the next implementations. As the quality status of the production order can be tracked at individual part level, we can react quickly to process irregularities and take additional measures."

"The collaboration with IGZ was excellent despite the many challenges posed by international cooperation across national borders. The joint project implementation was a complete success," says a satisfied Sascha Pirke, adding: "With SAP MES, we are well equipped for the 'production of the future'. New products for the aviation industry resulting from the development work can be seamlessly integrated into the MES.

Optimum machine efficiency is guaranteed with the help of the MES and helps us to manage the increasing quantities." For further roll-outs, IGZ project activities for the transformation and use of SAP Digital Manufacturing (DM), the cloud-based "next level MES solution" from SAP, have already started today. This offers MTU a hybrid system approach with the widest possible range of functions and full flexibility.

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