Orange Business Services powers Safran with smart-tracking IoT

Telco deploys more than 15,000 trackers and 250 antennas at two aircraft engine production sites in France to remotely locate and manage tools and equipment in real time

Safran Aircraft Engines is deploying smart tracking internet-of-things (IoT) technology from Orange Business Services to accelerate the digital transformation of its industrial processes and optimise the tracking and management of its tools in large-scale production areas.

Safran, said to be the world’s oldest aircraft engine manufacturer, is based just to the south of Paris and was formed by the 2005 merger of aircraft engine and aerospace component manufacturer group Snecma and security company Sagem.

It says it is now the world’s second-largest aircraft equipment manufacturer, supplying key systems such as landing gear, wheels, brakes and wiring, and says it has taken shape gradually through the association of “iconic and innovative” companies in the aviation, space and defence sectors. The company’s Safran Aircraft Engines division is described as an Industry 4.0 pioneer, using digitisation to sustain “unprecedented” production rates, working within an expanded ecosystem and offering “innovative” services.

But to sustain its position in aircraft engine manufacturing, Safran said it needed a component-tracking system that made it easy to pinpoint the location of assets accurately within three metres in a complex environment. With smart tracking, Safran Aircraft Engines says it benefits from a tailor-made, precise and reliable digital solution that also optimises the management and preventive maintenance of its fleet of tools.

The trackers needed to be tailored to the specific metallic environment of the company’s plants, so they would not cause wave interference with the equipment within the industrial sites.

Safran chose Orange Business Services to equip two key production sites with its smart-tracking IoT technology, which is based on an ecosystem of partners specialised in geolocation technologies in industrial settings. The trackers were placed on more than 15,000 specific tools, and 250 antennas were installed at two French plants, Villaroche and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, which measure 55,000m2 and 20,000m2, respectively.

The teams in the Villaroche and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines plants can now use data from the trackers to find out where their tracked tools are located – remotely and in real time – with the help of an integrated software platform adapted by Orange Business Services.

“We have chosen Orange Business Services as our trusted partner to provide a new innovative solution in our Industry 4.0 factory and to address our business challenges,” said Christophe Blayo, head of tooling for commercial engines assembling at Safran Aircraft Engines. “The Orange teams’ commitment throughout the implementation of the entire project was crucial for developing the optimal solution and deploying it effectively.

Emmanuel Routier, vice-president, Industry 4.0 at Orange Business Services, added: “This IoT integration project illustrates our ability to deliver a large-scale industrial project, tackle all the challenges that come with it and adapt our solutions in partnership with an innovative company like Safran Aircraft Engines – all of which has a positive impact on its business.”

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