Hutchinson is looking to get in on the ever-growing aerospace aftermarket with the launch of its newest business unit, Hutchinson Aerospace Services. The company will target OEM and airline customers by providing a range of aftermarket services through Hutchinson Aerospace’s existing global network of service centers, which are located in Europe, Asia and the United States.
“The aerospace aftermarket is worth billions per year for the next 20 years. In 2028 there will be almost 40,000 aircraft flying and they need maintenance. They need aftermarket services,” explains Norbert Langlois, executive vice president, Hutchinson Aerospace Services. “We want to be part of this business, and the beauty of it is that the market is so big that if you do things with added value—if you bring something to the market—you’ll get the business.”
Langlois believes Hutchinson Aerospace Services will draw in customers through its existing technical expertise backed by parent company Hutchinson’s robustness within industrial markets such as aerospace, automotive and defense. The new company plans to focus on three main segments, all of which will benefit from existing Hutchinson Group expertise: engine, airframe and cabin.
Within engine and airframe, Hutchinson has a large presence in composites through its subsidiary Composite Industrie, which the new aftermarket business plans to leverage for engine cold sections and airframe components. In addition to capabilities within engine build-up, thermal and acoustic management, fire testing and non-destructive testing, Hutchinson Aerospace Services is seeking Part 21J qualification to design and manufacture its own parts for airlines. The company is launching a program called “Save the Parts” to help extend the life of parts, which Langlois believes will bring added value for airline customers.
Hutchinson Aerospace Services is also hoping to break into emerging technologies for predictive maintenance such as big data, digital twins and blockchain due to the industry’s transition toward preventive maintenance. Langlois says the company is working to integrate these technologies into their products and is considering integration of transducers directly into fibers or polymers, which will help them track the health of components.
“This is our roadmap. Obviously, it’s not going to happen overnight,” says Langlois, adding that Hutchinson Aerospace Services hopes to be fully up and running by the end of 2021. “It will take time internally because there is a change in the mindset going from a big industrial company to an aftermarket company. We’ll also need to get known on the market.”
The company’s European headquarters are being built in Toulouse, France near Airbus, which Hutchinson already works closely with on projects such as A350 cockpit and cabin structures. In Toulouse, Hutchinson will also consolidate subsidiaries Composite Industrie and Barry Controls, which focuses on engine and APU mounting systems.
Meanwhile, the company’s U.S. headquarters will likely be in Burbank, California where its U.S. service center is located. Langlois says the company is looking at opening a second service center on the East Coast.
Within Asia, Hutchinson already has a service center in China and it is looking to base Hutchinson Aerospace Services China in Shanghai at some point in the future. Langlois says the company is in talks to eventually open a Hutchinson Aerospace Services Asia headquarters in either Singapore or Malaysia.