World-leading manufacturing company Safran Landing Systems, based at Cheltenham, which designs and manufactures aircraft landing and braking systems, welcomed nearly 50 manufacturers and engineers to the first Manufacturing Live event devised and hosted by Business & Innovation Magazine, supported by national accountancy firm Crowe Clark Whitehill and BPE Solicitors.
Business & Innovation Magazine ‘Live’ events provide key industry sectors with unique opportunities for companies to collaborate, participate in factory and site visits across the region to share best practice.
Guests came from some of the region’s biggest manufacturing companies and research establishments.
At our first ‘Manufacturing Live’ event at Safran, which was oversubscribed, more than 50 manufacturers and engineers heard Chris Wilson, Safran Managing Director and Vice President of Production, outline the success of the Cheltenham-based business, which employs over 1000 people, along with the wider challenges across the sector which is seeing huge price pressures as travellers demand cheaper flights. The company’s manufacturing engineering manager, purchasing site leader and head of continuous improvement gave presentations and answered questions from visitors.
Guests then toured the huge facility, including witnessing in person the manufacturing process as skilled engineers winched landing equipment out of the furnaces, plunging it into a huge water tank to cool.
Safran designs and manufactures aircraft landing and braking systems for large commercial aircraft, regional aircraft, business jet, military aircraft and helicopters. It also services and provides spares for the equipment throughout its life.
The Cheltenham-based site invests in research and innovation to push the boundaries of landing and braking systems design with the objective of developing lighter, quieter, more cost-effective and robust systems.
The company is actively seeing to increase its UK supply chain. John Wedley, Safran’s Purchasing Site Leader, outlined the company’s supply chain challenges, requirements and opportunities for potential new suppliers. “Our suppliers must have AS9100 quality (the aerospace standard based on the ISO 9001 quality system requirements) and need to have a turnover of over £10 million to be able to meet Safran’s supplier requirements,” he said.
It can take years to meet Safran’s high supplier requirements, according to John Wedley. This was confirmed by Craig Peterson, the CEO of Future Advanced Manufacturing, who attended Manufacturing Live. His company, also based in Cheltenham, finally met the supplier requirements after four years of planning and investment at the company. “It was a risk and a significant investment for us to meet Safran’s supplier demands,” he said. “But it’s been worth it. We are now working well with the company in a number of areas.”
Simon Bayliss, Safran’s Continuous Improvement Director, outlined the company’s strategy in empowering all its staff, which drives productivity across the entire factory, along with a sense of pride in being part of cutting edge innovation and manufacturing.
The next Business & Innovation Magazine Manufacturing Live will take place later this year.