One Software, Multiple Applications for Specialty Aircraft Shops

Nov. 12, 2020
JPB Système supplies aircraft engine manufacturers, including Safran, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE Aviation – and Esprit CAM ensures that it has all the performance options available

JPB Système was established in 1995, in France, to supply precision parts to aviation supply-chain businesses. Then, a branch operation was established in 2016 in Jasionka, near Rzeszów, in southeastern Poland’s Aviation Valley, a cluster of businesses involved in aerospace-related development and manufacturing.  Between its two locations, JPB employs more than 130 people.

From its beginning, the company has focused on developing and producing fasteners for aircraft engines. “JPB Système is a direct supplier for aircraft engine manufacturers including Safran, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and General Electric,” explained Marek Chiliński, chief engineer. Parts produced in France and Poland can be found in practically every commercial aircraft currently operated by most of the world’s major airlines.

A solid machine set-up – Most of the parts that JPB Système produces are machined on DMG Mori NZX1500/200 milling/turning centers. The well-outfitted shop also includes Okuma and Nakamura-Tome lathes, multi-axis longitudinal machines by Citizen, three-axis milling centers, and a Fanuc RoboDrill five-axis machine.

JPB Système subscribes to the concepts of Industry 4.0, with extensive data collection and sharing for its production programs. Of the six DMG Mori centers, one line is fully automated and features an artificial intelligence system, and this line is integrated with measurement systems so that armament production is completely autonomous.

“JPB Système mainly produces its own products, whose solutions are protected by international patents,” said Chiliński. Often these products are specialized for a given application. Due to the class, complexity, and variety of aircraft engines, parts must be modified and adapted to existing systems or designed by the customer.

Ensuring consistently high product quality is a challenge. The company’s products have a direct impact on aircraft safety and operation costs, so each stage of production requires the highest standards of quality.

Due to the demanding working conditions of aircraft engine parts and most of JPB Système’s other products, it primarily works with certified heat-resistant nickel alloys and stainless steel.

Comprehensive technology -- JPB Système strives for its operations to be as comprehensive, efficient, and automated as possible. Most parts it produces require some combination of turning, milling, drilling, chiseling, and deburring, and quite often each of these operations is performed by a single machine. Almost all JPB Système’s lathes are capable of set-up and programming for two-spindle production. Each lathe is programmed so that work takes place on two spindles simultaneously, sometimes with three cutting tools working simultaneously.

Programmers at JPB Système’s French location have been using Esprit CAM software for many years to set up turning and milling. At the Polish location, the software was implemented in 2019 and allows users to comprehensively operate the entire machinery park.

Primarily, Esprit is used to program three-, four-, and five-axis milling on the Fanuc RoboDrill machine in the R&D department. Most of the designs are prototypes of numerous new ideas and products. The variety of these designs is relatively large, and the degree of complexity is high—especially because these structures have not yet been optimized.

JPB Système constantly emphasizes the importance of product quality and standard of finish for its parts. Prototype parts, processed with Esprit, are presented to clients for their own internal tests. JPB Système works in various materials – including stainless steel, aluminum, plastics, Inconel, brass, and carbon steel – using a full catalog of tools, like T-cutters and torus, boring bars, and special tools. An additional challenge for JPB is the need to mill axisymmetric elements, such as lathes, where relatively easy, smooth, and continuous-contour turning sometimes requires the use of all tools and kinematic capabilities of a five-axis milling machine.

One of the latest products, the machining of which was modeled in Esprit, is a special tensioner of a tendon, equipped with a self-locking mechanism. Although some fine details of this device are produced on turning centers, the first prototypes were modeled and completed on a five-axis milling machine, exceptionally milling surfaces that normally are turned.

The CAM program makes it possible for JPB Système to use all possible machine tools effectively, along with accurately simulating the operations: instrumentation, tools, and axis kinematics. The generated code is optimized for the machine tool and does not require subsequent editing on the machine controller. This significantly reduces the risk of a collision and accelerates the work.

Because it implemented Esprit software, JPB Système can realize its full range of technological opportunities and stay competitive in the aviation market, according to Chiliński.