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Airbus Defence and Space: MTM process building blocks for Eurofighter maintenance

Airbus Defence and Space GmbH is the company commissioned by the German Armed Forces to service the Eurofighter multi-purpose combat aircraft. The planning and calculation work for the time required for these tasks was largely based on estimates and feedback from the production department in the past. However, significantly more transparent standard times for the individual working stages in the maintenance process are required as part of the obligation to disclose the costs to the customer. The MTM-MEK (MTM for one-of-a-kind and small batch production) is ideally suited when using MTM for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work. Company-specific processes involving both a great deal of work (quite a few hours) and small quantities can be planned with little effort by describing the general conditions. Company-specific MTM process building blocks with a modular structure have been drawn up in a joint project with Deutsche MTM-Gesellschaft mbH.

700 hours of work content in performance checks – no problem with MTM-MEK!
When servicing the Eurofighter planes, defined areas of the plane, components or structural elements – depending on the number of flying hours that the plane has completed – are assessed, dismantled, upgraded, reassembled and then all the functions are checked. The functional test department was also the major focus of the project. “We’re talking about a work volume of more than 700 hours in the functional checks alone, which have been assessed with MTM. Overall, the maintenance work on each plane involves about 8,000 hours,” says Robert Meier, explaining the situation. He works in the Operational Excellence department at Airbus Defence and Space and has been the project director for MTM/industrial engineering & innovation topics since 2012.

Modular MTM building block structures in “TiCon für SAP”
The aim of the MTM project was to determine the standard times for the individual test stages in a transparent and therefore verifiable manner for all those involved. By using the company-specific MTM process building blocks with their modular structure, it is now possible to assess all the activities in the selected processing tasks and their options with the lowest possible effort and expenditure. The preparation and harmonization of the MTM process building blocks and the planning work for each activity take place by using the MTM “TiCon für SAP” software. “About 30 colleagues at Manching have been trained as MTM Practitioners now – and they’ll be responsible for the general maintenance of the data and calculating the quotations in the future,” says Meier.

“Significant improvements”
“The analysis of the activities has not only confirmed the effort and expenditure determined in the past, but also introduced significant improvements to the sequences and processes,” Meier emphasizes. “It’s been possible to reduce the standard times by more than 130 hours compared to the results from 2012/2013, when the maintenance work was checked on a previous occasion. The benefits of the MTM application are absolutely obvious to Meier:

  • Data is reproducible
  • Processes are mapped transparently
  • It is possible to simulate target processes
  • Reference performance trustworthiness (100% standard performance) as the basis
  • The standardization of methods and processes has been initiated

Control system model for continual system diagnosis
The use of MTM has another advantage: The employees are involved in things from the outset. “This also forms the basis for the excellent relationship with the works council and, in the end, the signing of a company agreement with MTM,” the industrial engineer stresses. “If it turns out that the pre-calculated hours are not enough – because of departures from the planned process – a control system model for continual system diagnosis and system improvement goes into effect. According to Meier, so-called “more/less recognizers” have been defined, through which any discrepancies between the ACTUAL and TARGET figures can be identified. “It’s important for us in each case to create transparency for the customer so that we can precisely say where the extra hours come from – as the customer has to pay for them too.” Airbus Defence and Space currently works with a system of refunding prime costs in its maintenance work – i.e. reimbursing all the costs that have been incurred through the operating performance process. According to Robert Meier, the goal is to introduce a flat-rate price – and use MTM as the relevant basis for the calculations.

Best practice example sets a precedent
MTM-MEK has once again proved to be an ideal analysis system for process type 3. Among other things, this is characterized by long-cycle activities with a low level of repetition. This type of process is often found in maintenance and repair shop environments. MTM member corporations in other sectors are also benefiting from the best practice examples in Manching, by the way – e.g. Miele Professional. Company-specific MTM process building blocks are being used there on the basis of MTM-MEK to plan and calculate large-scale facilities. Miele was able to observe the process during a visit to Airbus Defence and Space, which was organized by Deutsche MTM-Gesellschaft.

If you have any questions about the MTM process building blocks project for Eurofighter maintenance, please contact:

Robert Meier, Operational Excellence, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH, email:
Ralf Jaehnke, Head of Department, Deutsche MTM-Gesellschaft mbH, email:


Photo credits:
Airbus Defence and Space GmbH
Any person or organization not affiliated with Airbus may not use, copy, alter or modify Airbus photographs, graphics, videography or other, similar reproductions or recordings without the advance written permission of an authorized designee from Airbus Communications.

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