Whilst all design, certification and operational documentation for the PD-14, the new Russian-made aero engine, is scheduled to be finalised by June 2019 – ahead of the first flight later in the year on its prime platform, the MC-21 advanced narrow-body aircraft – the project’s aftersales support programme development is in full swing, reveals Nikolay Durnovtsev, deputy director of advanced projects department at engine manufacturer UEC-Perm Motors.
In an untypical move for the Russian aviation industry, that work was started simultaneously with the launch of the programme. With maintenance cost reduction in mind, the designers have opted for a modular engine structure, which allows separate modules, or blocks, to be quickly replaced. The resulting Quick Engine Change (QUE) time is now less than four hours, and individual blocks can be changed in just 30 minutes, he says.
The United Engine Corporation (UEC), parent company of the engine manufacturer UEC-Perm Motors, reports that its repair facilities for the PD-14 are now in place and are capable of handling up to 50 engines per year. The challenge for the company is that the components for the engine are produced by enterprises all over Russia, and will have to be forwarded. “In fact, for the maintenance period, we spread the engine all across the country, and have 90 days to get and assemble everything back together,” Durnovtsev says.
Once the PD-14 enters service, other UEC subsidiaries, such as UEC-Saturn and UMPO, will join in the maintenance processes to both improve the quality and reduce down time, with customers enjoying a one-stop-shop relationship.
UEC has pledged to reduce the project’s direct maintenance costs by reducing the number of labour-intense procedures, whilst also extending maintenance intervals. The modular structure is expected to help save time and money, thereby reducing overall operational costs.
The manufacturer is also working on plans for a spare parts inventory and an engine exchange facility.
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