According to Jeana Thomas, the company’s vice president and global chief information officer, Pratt & Whitney’s embrace of digitizing and distributing data across its organization has led to greater efficiency in the manufacturing, less waste and better alignment with suppliers and customers. In an interview with AIN ahead of the show, Thomas added that Pratt’s digitization efforts have also made it easier and faster for employees to make critical manufacturing and business decisions.
At the same time, P&W is continuously engaging with its suppliers and customers to help them automate their processes and, increasingly, work together to create improvements in design, supply chain, maintenance and operating by sharing data, according to Thomas. Not only does this effort help create efficiencies for everyone in their businesses, it also helps eliminate human error, she said.
Like most large companies, P&W has been working on digitization for many years. “We had a very long rollout of digital tools,” Thomas said. But today, there remain many areas where P&W believes increasing digitalization and automation will make its business even more efficient and responsive while enabling the OEM and its entire supplier base to become more adaptable and agile to market requirements.
Internally, P&W is working to make its factories and parts supply facilities as completely digitally connected as possible. The 1.2 million square foot turbine wing manufacturing plant P&W plans to open in Asheville, North Carolina in the fourth quarter of 2022 will become its most connected and automated factory yet . All machines in the facility will digitally connect in its first year of operation, resulting in “data flowing to employees across the shop floor, [providing] ‘Industry 4.0’ capabilities,” said Thomas.
By going beyond the traditional siled approach and sharing data with its suppliers to work cooperatively on part designs, P&W’s design process has become faster and more efficient, she said. Sharing part data throughout a company’s design, manufacturing, and inventory holding operations enables its manufacturing and sourcing processes to become more automated and leaner, especially in additive manufacturing , producing less waste and reducing CO emissions2 emissions. Sharing parts data also ensures that P&W can deliver “the right part, at the right time, to the right place, to meet our customer commitment,” Thomas said.
Additional supply chain benefits arise from P&W’s interactive supplier portal. The portal facilitates administrative procedures and allows P&W to extract data from standard parts produced by suppliers. Knowing the exact standard for each part and providing two-way sharing of part design and manufacturing demand data improves the predictability of part quality and the reliability of part delivery for everyone.
This data also informs P&W’s sustainment operations, including the advanced, integrated supply chain support center that P&W announced in March it would build in Bangalore. Manufacturing and parts availability data is critical to P&W’s drive to establish “a global supply chain ecosystem” that is fully aligned with customer needs, Thomas said.
The same goes for the huge engine parts configuration database in the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which is part of the Customer Oriented Results & Excellence operating system ( CORE) from P&W, she said. Together with the ERP system’s predictive maintenance algorithms, part configuration data that identifies every part in every engine model manufactured by P&W enables CORE’s predictive lifecycle management (PLM) module to provide customers with predictive maintenance services company.
Engine health monitoring capabilities provided by the Advanced Diagnostics and Engine Monitoring (ADEM) platform of Pratt’s EngineWise suite of aftermarket and MRO services have also proven critical to maintenance capabilities. predictive of the engine of the company. Together, the CORE PLM module and ADEM enable P&W to offer engine parts customers “trend monitoring and troubleshooting, and maximizing time on the wing,” she said, improving customer maintenance planning.
The EngineWise Portal offers customers another P&W digital product designed to make engine maintenance information easy to access. Designed to automatically scale its display to the available screen size and definition of any device and viewable through any popular web browser using standard browser commands, the Interactive Electronic Technical Publication P&W cloud-based (IETP) displays technical data stored on a DVD or external drive.
P&W’s efforts to make work easier for employees through digitization include other cloud-based services aimed at reducing workload. A service is an “information-driven dashboard,” according to Thomas. This dashboard provides access to monthly billing information and a workflow tool designed to reduce the manual work involved in billing operations. Another cloud-based service allows employees to manage contracts. The portal provides “a contract registration system that has integrated and consistent ways to handle negotiation and administration,” she said.
According to Thomas, every effort to advance digitization represents a major internal cultural shift. “I absolutely believe that digitalization is key to attracting the right talent in the future,” she said. “We’re making sure we scale it across the organization and with our customers.”