The production teams define, organise and perform the operations that manufacturing aircraft involves, i.e. the tools, the primary parts, the sub-assemblies and their final assembly, as well as the fitting.
Given the complexity of the products, a specific activity is required upstream from actual production. This is referred to as “industrialisation” and involves defining what will be manufactured on the basis of work done by the engineering department which has defined what will fly.
With the advent in 2003 of the PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) concept, based on the use of CATIA (computer-aided design and manufacturing) and ENOVIA-VPM (technical data management) software, the whole line, from design through to production, is now fully integrated.
So, before the aircraft is even built, the engineers and technicians can work on a virtual model of the project. Thanks to this new digital system, experts from the various business lines (design, manufacturing, maintenance, etc.) work together and validate their choices using simulations which enable us to “get it right first time”.
Furthermore, the production teams can work “ahead of schedule” on virtual workstations that will be subsequently take concrete form in the workshops.
Technician (equipment failure diagnostic and studies), Argonay
From Argonay to Abu-Dhabi
Jérôme has been a technician in Argonay for two years and, as such, he works on the mechanical and electric flight command and servo-control equipment that moves the control surface of the aircraft. This equipment is fitted onto the Falcon and the Mirage 2000.
“When the equipment comes in for servicing or because it has broken down,” he explains, “it is my job to test its performances on the test bench.” The benches are highly automated and immediately display the corresponding values. They are then simply checked to see whether they are within the acceptable range. If they are not, the equipment has to be dismantled, and parts are replaced or sometimes machined in a nearby workshop.
“In my job you need to be logical to understand why such and such a value or reaction is obtained,” he says. “You must also be methodical and do the tests one after the other.” Lastly he believes “you need to be resourceful,” even if there is little room for intuition in principle. “We work on splendid precision mechanics,” he adds admiringly.
After passing a technical university diploma in Mechanics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing in Montluçon, Jérôme, 25, had only had temporary jobs before he joined Dassault Aviation. Originally from the Auvergne region, he moved here, near Annecy, an area he finds “pleasant to live in”. However, he is really looking forward to leaving it next year for three months since he has been assigned a mission in Abu-Dhabi to train local technicians on the Mirage 2000. It will be the first time such training is given abroad, although the site in Argonay, which employs 520 people, regularly runs courses for staff sent by foreign customers.
What about the future? “I would like to work my way up,” says Jérôme, “and not necessarily in the same line of work. I could see myself working on developing new equipment in a design office for example!”
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