Manufacturing processes at Aircraft Industries become safer, faster and more precise

Posted on 18/12/2019

Aircraft Industries, a Czech manufacturer of small aircraft with a history going back more than 80 years, strives to deliver the highest quality aircraft to its customers.  The company’s main business activities are development, production and sales of two types of the L 410 turboprop aircraft, including servicing and maintenance.  Aircraft Industries delivers small airplanes worldwide; its aircraft are operated, successfully, by private airlines as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations, air forces and aero clubs, in more than 50 countries spanning five continents.

The aircraft have the ability to take off and land on short unpaved runways, and so they can be used anywhere including hard-to-reach places during special life-saving missions.  Security in production, precise planning and recording of the manufacturing process are crucial to guarantee the safety of the final aircraft.

Critically, its existing IT infrastructure limited security and made further development of the company impossible.  Manufacturing processes and progress must be recorded every day, every hour, every minute – every particle, screw, seal, what was done, by whom and when – in order to have tracable production records.  That leads to a huge amount of data that needs to be processed overnight, the result of which, is a production plan for the next day.

The demanding data processing often caused delays and there was a potential risk of production failure.  Besides, the time required for the processing further limited development or expansion of the company and production diversification.

VMware and its certified partner DPDC analysed the situation and the company’s needs.  The initial reason for the change was the need to increase storage and modernize the data centre as the existing equipment became obsolete.  This was the “start” for thinking about the real digital ambition: how could IT better support the business.  The analysis revealed the need for a major improvement in security, consolidation and acceleration of all processes.  To improve its digital foundations, Aircraft Industries implemented new hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) built on VMware technologies.

This project addresses both the refresh of IT resources and the potential for further development of the business.  The customer already had a very positive experience with using VMware solutions, so the implementation of the new HCI was a logical step.  VMware technology had again helped Aircraft Industries drive business innovations and agility with measurable success.  VMware vSphere 6.7 and VMware vSAN Enterprise were implemented as a part of the new digital infrastructure, which covers three redundant data centres with six vSAN nodes.

Choosing vSphere and vSAN made a number of processes much smoother and safer.  By running vSphere and vSAN on production and manufacturing servers, daily tasks for workers became much easier to assign.  Potential ongoing and future production crises, due to low capacity and performance, are now eliminated ensuring fast recovery should this scenario materialize.  “Thanks to VMware, our manufacturing processes became safer, faster and more precise,” explains Pavel Struhár, CIO of Aircraft Industries.  “With the new HCI infrastructure, the time it takes to build task lists for shift workers during the night has been truncated by 4-times and the performance problems in production have been greatly reduced,” adds Struhár.

Both the speed of the processes and the way they work with the three fully redundant data centres ensures the continuity of production with zero downtime, the ability to plan more efficiently and implementation of other business requirements in production, which all allow the company’s overall development.  Aircraft Industries is now able to seriously consider a new aircraft project – reviving its old plan for L 610 aircraft production, which can carry up to 40 passengers compared to “small” L 410 with capacity of 19 passengers. This has been the biggest business ambition of the company of the last 30 years, but could not be executed due to previous infrastructure limitations.

Air transport is becoming ever more important as globalisation is picking up the pace.  At the same time the infrastructure often lags behind the current needs in the constantly changing world.  Aircraft Industries helps further connect the world, offering small aircraft for heavy duty missions around the globe.  An impact of some missions is saving lives.  Standing behind the whole production process VMware contributes to safety during the production process as well as the data security.

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