Vertical and modular technology in the Aerospace & Defence industry: Modula success stories

10 October 2023
Vertical and modular technology in the Aerospace & Defence industry: Modula success stories

Aerospace & Defence is unquestionably one of the most resilient of all industries, despite the unprecedented crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced commercial operators to ground their fleets. This is underlined by how quickly the entire sector has recovered, along with the associated services. They are predicted to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

As normality resumes, on both the commercial and government fronts the Aerospace & Defence industry will have to face up to new market dynamics pushing it in the following directions:

  • Upgrading fleets
  • Investing in digital transformation
  • Reaching net-zero emissions by 2050

Meanwhile, staff shortages, supply chain challenges and inflation will all continue to have an impact, at least in the short term. Therefore, in order to achieve its goals, the A&D industry will have to focus on optimizing productivity and improving efficiency in maintenance and operations.

In terms of MRO, the main challenges in the field are presented by a fall in staff numbers, economic uncertainty and higher fuel prices, which have caused numerous disruptions all along the aerospace supply chain.Consequently, the leading players in A&D have taken various preventive measures, especially in order to increase their stocks, so that they can respond to the surge in demand resulting from the aircraft maintenance backlog. In addition, many MRO suppliers are heavily investing in new regional infrastructure so that they can further reduce waiting times for their customers.

Against this backdrop, it has become even more crucial for the Aerospace & Defence industry to optimize logistics in pursuit of greater operational efficiency, because this will counterbalance the gaps in the market while also supporting its development. 

With its high-tech vertical and modular solutions, Modula can make a significant contribution to improvements in the A&D industry’s logistics processes, which is confirmed by the fact that numerous top names in the field employ them successfully.

How Modula can enhance logistics processes in the A&D industry: success stories

As previously stated, over the years Modula has developed the technical know-how required to serve the biggest industries, including the delicate, complex field of Aerospace. Modula’s solutions can help to streamline logistics, increase and optimize the management of storage space, reduce times and improve accuracy in operations, and much more.Keep reading to find out about some of the biggest businesses that have chosen Modula as their partner and how each solution helped to resolve critical issues (and make improvements).

Safran is a top aircraft engine MRO specialist. In its plant, it introduced seven Modula VLMs that made it possible to:

  • Recover 80% of floor space
  • Improve product traceability
  • Speed up the work of technicians by bringing the needed components closer to them

Two of the VLMs are Modula Pallet systems with double external bay for storing bulky components. Thanks to Modula’s solutions, Safran has been able to make the most of the storage surface at its disposal and optimize handling of the increase in OE deliveries.

GE Celma, based in Rio de Janeiro, is a branch of GE Aerospace and is the biggest aircraft engine MRO in Latin America. GE Celma had to solve the following problems:

  • Lack of space
  • Need for safe management of stored material
  • Limited height in its building

GE Celma has maximized its storage space and boosted its productivity by installing six Modula systems in its production department, including two outside the building and two Modula Lift systems between the floors.

Other Brazil-based aerospace businesses that have chosen Modula include:

  • Sonaca, for storing aerospace component moulds
  • Gol Aerotech, for storing aircraft spare parts

One particularly noteworthy name that has chosen Modula solutions is Embraer, the world’s third largest producer of aircraft. It has 12 Modula VLMs for storing component moulds and one Modula VLM for storing maintenance parts.

Another big player in the A&D industry that has opted for Modula is Airbus, which is one of the main international OEMs. It needed to step up and speed up its aircraft deliveries. Thanks to Modula’s automated vertical storage systems it was able to:

  • Optimize its use of storage space
  • Optimize traceability of stored material
  • Enhance its performance

Airbus currently uses Modula VLMs in a number of its European production facilities. By the end of 2024, it will also be utilizing Modula systems in the USA.

Eagle Services Asia is a global centre of excellence for Pratt & Whitney PW4000 aircraft engines and it also provides maintenance and overhaul services for other large engines, such as the GE90, GP7200 and PW1100G-JM.

It needed safe storage facilities for its engine assembly jigs and also for the replacement parts required for repair and overhaul services. It was necessary to take into account:

  • The lack of storage space
  • The extremely high cost of warehouse rental in Singapore

In order to deal with these issues without having to move too far from the main production plant, Eagle Services Asia chose Modula automated storage systems. It currently has 21 of them and they have enabled it to:

  • Increase its storage capacity by taking advantage of vertical space
  • Improve its workforce efficiency using a telescopic bay and trolleys
  • Increase the speed and precision of SKU picking

Modula solutions also meet the needs of the Defence industry V2X provides the US Navy with aircraft maintenance, logistics and technical support services. It has installed four Modula VLMs with front and back external bay for the automatic management and storage of military aircraft components.

The introduction of Modula’s products is part of a broader supply chain modernization plan by the US Navy that will see it investing in smarter warehouses and in automation and digitalization technologies to boost the efficiency and precision of operations, while ensuring they are better suited to the current geopolitical environment.

Elsewhere in the USA, Modula automated vertical storage systems have been chosen by a number of leading MRO companies in the Aerospace & Defence industry, including: Lockheed Martin, United Airlines, Williams, and Pratt & Whitney.

The very simple reason behind their choice is that Modula VLMs meet all the needs of a MRO company:

  • Making the most of storage space
  • Safely handling thousands of SKUs 
  • Optimizing operating processes in order to work faster

Modula VLMs for the Aerospace & Defence industry

It is plain to see that a range of Modula solutions can offer an outstanding response to the current needs and future prospects of the Aerospace & Defence industry. The technology behind the products mentioned above can easily be adapted to suit a delicate, complex field such as aerospace.

Speaking of which, a new VLM has been designed to satisfy special, complex needs offering total traceability of materials and faster, more precise picking.

In spheres such as the aerospace industry and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), meticulous management of materials is vitally important. Products for use in these areas often closely resemble each other, and mistaking them or mixing them up can bring huge risks in terms of safety and traceability.

Modula NEXT is the ideal solution, especially when it comes to storing and picking similar items. This innovative system offers the significant benefit of enabling operators to get the items they need quickly and precisely, even when they are similar in shape and size, thanks to dedicated, unequivocal access. During the picking process, a moving window system opens up a single compartment and only provides access to one specific item at a time. The operating process is similar to that of a vending machine and it makes the storage system extremely simple to use: the operator initiates an order, approaches the picking area and then confirms the operation with the console. The storage system then calls the tray containing the item and provides access only to the relevant compartment, so the operator can pick the item and conclude the process.

Another distinguishing feature of Modula NEXT is its capacity for even greater tracking precision and efficacy than traditional VLMs. It takes things to the next level compared to standard VLM storage systems and provides the scope for comprehensive inventory control, eliminating the risk of understocking and overstocking.

In addition, the highly optimized system for tracking access to the machinery ensures safe, controlled management of materials in the Aerospace industry, thus providing maximum precision in every production stage.

Modula NEXT can offer reliable, detailed tracking of every single component involved in production processes, thus optimizing operating times and reducing potential errors.

Thanks to Modula NEXT’s advanced functions, companies in the A&D industry can significantly improve their operational efficiency. It is the ideal way to handle the complex challenges and high safety standards required in the Aerospace and Defence industry while keeping up exceptional performance levels and retaining a competitive position in the global market.

If you’d like to find out more about our products and our technology, contact us and ask for individually tailored technical advice.

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Ask for a quotation for one of our vertical warehouses or simply tell us what it is you need. Our team of experts will be only too happy to help you find the most efficient solution to improving the performance of your warehouse.
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