The Challenge

Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico (LTPR) specializes in maintenance, repair and overhaul also known as MRO services. This world-class base maintenance site is focused on the Airbus A320 range of short and medium-range aircraft. The facility covers 20,000 square meters at Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, known for being the longest airport runway in the Caribbean, with over 300 highly qualified personnel performing in-depth maintenance and overhaul checks for both North and South American customers.

In this MRO site, a variety of in-house docking systems enabled crucial access to the aircraft nose, wings and tail, but an internal improvement drive identified the need for a standardised platform to access the intricate nose avionics area. The new platform had to work within the constraints of the specialist docking systems and be adjustable so that it could still be used when the aircraft was on jacks or wheels. It was also important that the new platform didn’t take up too much space in the hangar – an issue with the previous system.

LTPR needed a solution that incorporated its specific requirements. The location of the maintenance site also meant that trust in a remote vendor was crucial to maximise project success – even more imperative in a COVID-19 context where travel was compromised.

Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico: standardising access to the intricate nose avionics area - The Challenge

The Solution

Aware of the scenario in which the new solution had to operate, Semmco was keen to keep the initial concept as simple and effective as possible. Customers wanting different access positions would frequently be offered one of Semmco’s variable height solutions, however this was not the ideal solution for LTPR’s requirements. Working with Semmco’s global design team, a simpler, fixed height platform was recommended, but with the addition of a hop-up to service the required access range. A key design element was the sliding handrails that provide enhanced flexibility but maintained safety standards. Impressed with the customised option, lead times and customer service support, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico chose Semmco Inc as its supplier.

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The Benefits

As the new avionics access platform had to operate in a narrow area , LTPR and Semmco Inc initially agreed that one platform should be manufactured and delivered from Semmco Inc’s facility in Arlington, Texas. This ensured feedback could be gathered and changes rectified for optimum implementation for the wider order.

The platform’s design and stability received positive feedback as it fitted neatly into the dedicated area. Minor design tweaks were advised, including an additional pin added to the handrails to ensure they would be permanently fixed to the platform in order to avoid the parts going missing. Semmco Inc incorporated these changes into the next shipment of platforms. Since then, feedback has continued to be positive, with engineers complimenting the platform’s manoeuvrability, sturdiness and ability to access the nose avionics.

Commenting on the success of the project, LTPR CEO Pat Foley said:

“We are pleased with the quality of the final product of Semmco’s Avionics Access Stairs. At Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico, our priority is safety compliance and ensuring all our team members who perform aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul can do so in a secure environment.”

Semmco Inc’s Will McOnie commented

“We thoroughly enjoyed working with Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico on this project. Working closely together on the design process and ensuring we kept the engineers’ needs at the forefront of our design agenda resulted in a great solution, highlighting our ability to offer bespoke solutions to meet customer requirements. We pride ourselves in our quality products. But working in COVID times – not being able to travel to see our customer, install the platforms and train the teams ourselves meant the platforms needed to work first time. They had to speak for themselves more than ever. We are delighted with the finished project and we look forward to continuing a successful working relationship.”

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