A long-term, strategic vision to diversify further in defence markets is helping MB Aerospace to emerge from the global aviation downturn a leaner, more flexible business focussed on operational excellence, according to Chief Executive Officer Craig Gallagher.
Revealing more than $300m of new contracts and contract renewals have been signed since the start of 2020, Mr Gallagher hailed ongoing investment across the group’s international facilities, which has helped deliver strong results in multiple areas - all despite Covid-19.
He said: “No-one in our industry has escaped the enormous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been the largest single shock our sector has ever experienced, but the long-term plans we’ve implemented have played an invaluable role in helping us weather the storm and prepare to emerge stronger.
“Our portfolio strategy enabled us to take the decision in 2010 to significantly broaden our capabilities in the defence sector and this has been entirely vindicated, with a record $100m of defence contracts fulfilled this year alone.
“We’re now on track to grow our defence component sales by 35% year-on-year and have an increasingly diverse defence portfolio, covering more than 20 aero-engine and derivative applications amongst the total of 90 different aero-engine and derivative platforms that we support as a group. Crucially, no single platform from our portfolio accounts for more than 10% of total group revenue.
“The goal we set ourselves five years ago - of having our defence business representing approximately 30% of our global operations by 2022 - has been achieved a full two years ahead of schedule, but we’re not about to rest on our laurels.”
Highlights in 2020 include:
- New component manufacturing contract wins on growing defence platforms and to support existing platforms that have long life-cycle service remaining
- Expansion of product range and platform base to cover established programs such as the F-15, F-16, B-52, Hercules, Osprey, Hawk and Typhoon; as well as modern applications such as the F-35, F-22, CH53K King Stallion & CH47 Chinook
- More than $5m of new aero-engine repair work on established military engine applications, with similar volumes expected in near-term years
- $500k contract award for F-15 exhaust synchronization rings from the military, comprising inspection, repairs and hardware replacement
- Aero-engine component repair for the defence sector now comprises 10% of repair business - and growing
Wider investment includes a new $5m facility at Taoyuan, providing significantly increased floorspace to support dedicated lines for large programs and new generation engines, in addition to increasing MBAe Taoyuan’s existing global repair capabilities.
This investment significantly expands the group’s product range, including new and enhanced machining capabilities, primarily for aero-engine compressor and fan sections.
In addition, the group has made a $10m investment in new plasma and thermal coatings capacity alongside a pioneering NPI cell located in Poland, to accelerate the introduction of new products as part of a global part family commodity manufacturing strategy.
Integral to its rigorous approach to Industry 4.0 digitalisation, MB Aerospace has also invested heavily in industry-leading software (Siemens NX/Teamcenter) which has already helped deliver:
- Reduction in NPI Cycle times, enabling the business to in-load almost 500 new parts
- A 50% speed-to-market improvement for introduction time of NPI
- Dramatically improved internal execution and better compatibility with customer models and part definitions
The business also recognises that innovation is essential to help address emerging demand, playing a crucial role in enabling customers to consolidate and rationalise their supply chains as they emerge from the impact of Covid-19.
Recent innovation highlights include:
- Supply chain consolidation, focusing on MB Aerospace’s global multi-commodity capability and its deep bench of engineering talent in cost-competitive regions.
- Helping customers rationalise their supply chains and part portfolios using the group’s global Centres of Excellence and Engineering Services team. These pioneering resources provides both skilled and scaled resource to enable customers to lower their transaction costs and deliver sustainable engineering improvements.
Craig Gallagher added: “The strong position we find ourselves in is testament to the teamwork, effort and ingenuity of the 1,550 people who make MB Aerospace, combined with the many customers who have placed their trust in us.
“Our entire team has fully embraced the vision we set out several years ago of creating one of the most innovative, forward-thinking and agile businesses in our sector, focussed on operational excellence. And the exciting thing is, we’re still only at the start of this journey.”