10 years of engine servicing at N3 Engine Overhaul Services
Successful strategic partnership between Lufthansa Technik and Rolls-Royce
N3 Engine Overhaul Services (N3), the joint venture between Lufthansa Technik AG and Rolls-Royce plc. for the maintenance and repair of aircraft engines, celebrated its 10-year operating anniversary with a ceremony. Since April 2007, the Rolls-Royce Trent engines have been overhauled at the facility at Arnstadt, Germany. Since October 2016, the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB, the world's most efficient civil large engine flying today and the powerplant for the A350 XWB, has also been in the portfolio.
The company initially began operations in 2007 with 270 employees. Now, 600 specialists work at N3, 350 of which were able to pass the aeronautical qualification programme designed specifically for the company. There are currently more than 40 international airlines among the customers serviced by N3 on behalf of Rolls-Royce. Since 2007, N3 has overhauled more than 800 engines from the Trent 500 (A340), Trent 700 (A330) and Trent 900 (A380) model ranges. With the new Trent XWB (A350 XWB) engine, output will increase from the current 100 engines per year to 150 - 200 engines per year in the coming years. This year it will already be 130 engines.
Alexander Stern, Director and General Manager, N3 Engine Overhaul Services: "N3 has developed from the newcomer in the industry to one of the leading companies in the servicing of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. In international competition, we stand by our delivery reliability, excellent quality and outstandingly trained workforce." Stern further praised the excellent location conditions in Thuringia: "The central location in Germany and Europe, the excellent infrastructure and the specialists were and still are important factors for the successful development of the company."
On behalf of federal and regional government, Dr Wolfgang Scheremet, Head of the Department of Industrial Policy at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and Wolfgang Tiefensee, Thuringia's Minister of Economy, Science and Digital Society, honoured the commitment of the parent companies in the Free State and the productivity of the model company.
Head of Department Dr Scheremet: "N3 is a real success story and represents an investment in the future of the German Site for Industry and Advanced Technology. Thuringia – like the whole of Germany – is a great place for investments and innovation. I hope that the success of N3 will set a precedent and inspire others to emulate it, as they continue to add value and bring job opportunities to new locations across Germany."
Thuringia's Minister of Economy, Science and Digital Society Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee took part in the opening of the site in 2007, when he was the Federal Minister for Transport. He praised N3 as one of the region's most fruitful investments: "All the best on the company's 10th birthday. The setup of N3 is extremely sound, allowing it to transcend the borders of Thuringia. In its 10 years of existence in Thuringia, N3 has expanded to a stable size and developed into a reliable and important part of Thuringia's economy. Through quality, high levels of efficiency and the most modern equipment, the site has been able to broaden its client base and thereby more than double the number of its employees. The site is renowned not least for its strength in the training of aircraft mechanics, which allows it to cover the demand for specialist workers. I am confident that N3 will continue its outstanding development in the future."
For the parent companies, the joint enterprise formed the beginning of a strategic partnership in the field of engine servicing.
Dr. Johannes Bussmann, chairman of Lufthansa Technik, emphasised: "With N3, Rolls-Royce and Lufthansa Technik have set a new benchmark for international cooperation in engine MRO. We are proud of having been able to offer the best quality in the overhaul of Trent engines for the past ten years. With the expanded capacity for the new Trent XWB engine type the company is well equipped for the future."
Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: "We are proud to have worked with Lufthansa Technik to establish N3 as a leading overhaul facility for Rolls-Royce engines in Europe. Their consistently high standards and dependable turn around times play a critical role in making it easier for our customers to plan their own operations. N3 doesn't just overhaul engines though, it also plays a role in the broader Rolls-Royce CareNetwork, competing with other shops to repair Trent components that will be fitted to engines being overhauled elsewhere in the network."
Soon every seventh engine specialist from own training
In the future, the company expects a moderate increase in employment. By continually training aircraft mechanics in the field of engine technology, N3 is able to secure its need for specialists largely by itself. Since 2008, N3 has trained approximately 12 aircraft mechanics in the field of engine technology every year. So far, 54 young men and women have finished their training and found permanent positions at N3. There are currently another 40 young men and women undertaking training at N3. Last year, for the first time, a cohort of future warehouse logistics specialists began.
Servicing and component repair "best in class"
Thuringians are leaders in the use of vertical building techniques which enable precise and non-destructive disassembly and assembly of engine modules. With the help of electronic and mechanic lifting platforms, mechanics work on all four types of engine efficiently and ergonomically. Furthermore, the engine test station in Arnstadt is one of the most advanced and powerful facilities in the world. Over the years of repairing engine assemblies / components, N3 qualified for a range of special repairs (source-controlled repairs) that are authorised and controlled directly by Rolls-Royce. An in-house engineering division allows for continuous improvement and sustainable further development of the processes and the introduction of new and innovative repair technologies. In terms of tool development, N3 also developed some solutions and established them as best practices in the Rolls-Royce network.