A Russian-Israeli joint venture specifically offering heat exchangers maintenance services for foreign aircraft is to open in Russia in a few weeks time. TAT Engineering (TAT Engineering LLC), a co-operation between Israeli engineering firm TAT Technologies and Russian holding company Engineering, will be able to provide heat exchanger maintenance services in Russia for the first time.
The venture is currently in the process of acquiring EASA Part 145 approval, which allows it to service heat transfer systems of foreign-built aircraft.
TAT Engineering, whose facilities are located at Tolmachevo Airport in Novosibirsk, aims to focus on exchangers installed on such aircraft types as Airbus A320 and Boeing 737CL/NG, and has plans to complete as many as 1,200 repaired units per year.
With the availability of a domestic certified provider specialising in such services, Russian and CIS airlines will no longer be forced to send their heat exchangers for overhaul abroad.
The plans for transferring overhaul technologies for heat exchanger control systems to Russia were first announced by the two parties in early 2016. At that point the Russian-Israeli joint venture was hoping to receive its first orders before the end of 2016.
“The launch of operations has been delayed as we had to finalize the construction works, procure necessary supplies and equipment, as well as recruit personnel and file paperwork required for the EASA certification procedure,” the representative of TAT Engineering has revealed to Russian Aviation Insider.
“The company will start operating as soon as it gets EASA Part 145 approval and the relevant license from the Russian Federal Transportation Inspection Service (Rostransnadzor). The estimated date is now April 15, 2017,” the company adds.
EASA’s delegation visited TAT Engineering on February 13 to 15. “The results of the inspection encourage us to think that the joint venture will be able to receive Part 145 approval by the end of March,” Engineering’s business development director Alexander Filippov reveals to Russian Aviation Insider.
At the same time, the company is undergoing the Rostransnadzor certification process, TAT Engineering adds.
According to the Russian Register of Legal Entities, TAT Engineering LLC was established in April, 2016. A 51 per cent share of the business belongs to TAT Technologies and 49 per cent is owned by the Engineering Holding.
TAT Engineering’s executive body is headed by two directors, chief executive Evgeniy Elgaev, and logistics and business director Alexander Kudasov. For more than two decades the former had previously worked for the Novosibirsk-based Chkalov NAPO aircraft manufacturing facility, a Sukhoi subsidiary, and for 12 years had been in the position of deputy director for finance, business and marketing. The latter has vast experience in top management positions at major Russian companies.
“Extensive background in the respective field, prominent professional achievements and colleague recommendations were our main selection criteria for the candidates,” the company explains.
Apart from the two main directors, TAT Engineering has seven more employees. The engineering sector includes a deputy director for quality management, as well as a quality engineer and a senior mechanic. The technical staff responsible for actual heat exchanger repairs consists of four individuals.
The joint venture requires that all engineering personnel possess adequate working experience in aviation. As for the technical staff, some of the specialists have previously been involved in the maintenance and servicing of aviation components, whilst others had not, but are nevertheless qualified experts in welding, chemical engineering, and are NC machine operators.
All employees of the joint venture have already passed basic training courses in Air Law and CRM and have also taken both theory and practical tutelage in TAT Engineering’s main operational focus of heat exchanger servicing.
Some of the company’s employees are already certificated to USA and European standards, allowing them to conduct specific works such as non-destructive testing and welding.
TAT Engineering is targeting the servicing of heat exchanger control systems used on the Airbus A320, Boeing 737CL/NG, Boeing 757/767, ВС Bombardier CRJ100/200 aircraft families and others. The annual capacity is expected to reach 1200 items.
All works will be conducted at Tolmachevo Airport in Novosibirsk, in a refurbished facility adjacent to the hangars of MRO-provider Sibir Technics (also a member of Engineering Holding).
“Currently we occupy a building which used to be a warehouse. It has been completely refit to satisfy the new functional agenda. The site has been hooked up to all communication lines and completely meets the existing production facility requirements,” TAT Engineering explains.
The joint venture’s equipment allows for the full range of testing and servicing works, as well as providing regular maintenance and overhauls of aircraft heat exchangers. In particular, TAT Engineering has a one-of-a-kind heat exchanger pressure drop testing rig, a nitrogen test rig, a radiator chemical cleaning line, a protective coating line, a vertical milling centre, welding machines, a sandblast machine, a paint-spray booth, and a non-destructive test stand.
TAT Technologies’ Oklahoma-based subsidiary Limco Airepair, a heat transfer equipment designing and manufacturing company, has provided the joint venture with a complete tooling package for heat exchanger core replacement.
TAT Engineering underscores that most of the equipment has been custom-made by Novosibirsk companies to meet the specific tasks set for the joint venture.
Creating a local MRO-provider capable of carrying out overhauls for foreign aircraft heat transfer control systems will save Russian and CIS companies the trouble – and additional cost – of sending the heat exchangers to other places for maintenance services.
“We are not new to this topic and we used to perform regular maintenance of aircraft heat exchangers earlier. However, those were not in-depth repairs but minor troubleshooting such as inspection, flushing, cleaning, etc. Where more profound maintenance was needed, we had to send the units abroad as there were no companies in Russia certified for that,” Alexander Filippov reported to Russian Aviation Insider in early 2016.
TAT Engineering also reveals that the venture’s partner Limco Airepair (which previously preferred to promote its services independently) and S7 Engineering (a subsidiary of Engineering) will be responsible for customer acquisition. “Our sales targets for 2017 reflect the agreements that we have with major servicing companies. TAT Engineering has already conducted negotiations with representatives of Russian and foreign businesses and we sense demand for our services from potential customers. Tentative co-operation agreements are drafted and will become active as soon as we launch operations,” the company representative states.
With TAT Engineering currently focused on heat exchanger maintenance, this does not mean that it will not include a list of extended additional services in the future.
Remarkably, Engineering has already succeeded in bringing unique types of aircraft MRO services to Russia. In 2016, S7 Engineering launched a CFM56-5/7 repair shop within its base airport at Domodedovo (with support from SR Technics) and a local repair service for aircraft toilets (in co-operation with Zodiac Aerospace).
By Artyom Korenyako
Russian Aviation Insider
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