Manufacturing carbon brake discs for aircraft requires specific skills, so raising production as orders rose forced Safran Group subsidiary Safran Landing Systems to upgrade its manufacturing methods with help from its machine programming consultant.

Original methods

More than 200 employees at Safran Landing Systems in Villeurbanne, France, play one of three complementary roles – weaving carbon fibers; performing heat treatment for conglomeration of fibers into strong, compact stock; and machining these fibers.

Increasing orders in the global aeronautics industry motivated Safran to improve its efficiency, responsiveness, and manufacturing methods to make a more reliable product.

Esprit software simplifies production for Safran. Distributor MHAC Technologies provides service.

Automating operations

MHAC Technologies, Safran’s partner in machine programming, spoke with Olivier Clausse and his team from Safran’s method office about implementing Esprit computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software for CNC programming, optimization, and simulation. Safran chose Esprit’s SolidMillTurn Production Plus software, which handles C-axis index and rotary milling, Y-axis index milling, B-axis index milling, and 3rd rotary axis index milling. The system includes SolidMillTurn Traditional & Advanced and SolidTturn Multispindle, a 2-axis turning add-on.

Esprit software’s automatic macros define machining origins, offsets, and assemblies when programming Safran’s CNC lathes and 3- to 5-axis milling centers. Macros can automate and optimize operations based on the type of machining being done and stock measured directly on the machine. MHAC Technologies provided made-to-measure post processors for specific machines in Safran’s workshop.

From left to right: Ruben Nazarian, Patrick Gaydoux, Olivier Clausse, and Mylène Loubatières of the Safran Landing Systems method office; and Patrick Gaspard of MHAC Technologies.
Photos: DP Technology

Program reduction

Equipping the shop with updated turning and milling equipment became a top priority to boost brake production.

“One-and-done assembly is becoming a necessity in order to limit work-in-progress, guarantee better quality, and offer greater reactivity,” Clausse says.

Safran engineers chose to limit the number of programs used and standardized the rest to accelerate production. Program standardization arose, in part, from inspecting carbon discs on 3D measuring machines.

“We can define several families of disc brakes, which are only differentiated by a few dimension elements or machining operations,” Production Methods Engineer Mylène Loubatières says.

MHAC Technologies worked with Safran engineers to define brake families and create related programming macros, reducing the number of programs from more than 100 to several dozen.

“With Esprit and MHAC Technologies, we chose to combine ease-of-installation with service,” Clausse says.

One-and-done assembly is becoming a necessity in order to limit work-in-progress, guarantee better quality, and offer greater reactivity

Company growth

Embracing turning and milling while using Esprit CAM technology helped Safran remain competitive in the global aerospace market. In late 2018, Turkish Airlines announced that it had chosen wheels and carbon brakes from Safran Landing Systems for its fleets of 25 Airbus A350-900 and 25 Boeing 787-9 long-range aircraft. With artificial intelligence (AI) programming and collaboration between MHAC and Clausse’s team, Safran Landing System’s aircraft braking program is accelerating.

DP Technology

MHAC Technologies

Safran Landing Systems