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All about Embraer’s boost in asset reliability

Eye On Failure is a series of articles about stories of maintainers who implemented our solution and were saved from sudden breaks and stopped machines, such as Ahlstrom Munksjo, AmstedMaxion, Yara, among others.

The third largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes in the world, Embraer is a Brazilian company with 52 years of history, 18 thousand employees and more than 8 thousand aircraft delivered. Operating in the commercial, executive, defense, and security aviation sectors, the company’s aircraft take off somewhere in the world every 10 seconds and carry about 145 million passengers a year. Its industrial units, offices and distribution centers are present in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. And it was in the Botucatu plant, interior of São Paulo, that TRACTIAN entered the company’s trajectory. 

In mid-September 2020, a report caught the attention of Leandro Lage, a Maintenance and Infrastructure Engineer at Embraer. “I read it, and coincidentally my superior watched the report on TV. I told him: I saw a very interesting article, it is about a company that works with predictive monitoring, it is a startup and I thought it was very cool. And then he said: I also watched the report. And that’s how TRACTIAN came into our lives”, he comments. 

Lage, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, has been with the aircraft manufacturer for 14 years. He started as a trainee, was promoted to manufacturing engineer the following year and, after 8 years in the position, took on his current role in the Maintenance and Infrastructure area at the Botucatu plant. 

Today, he is responsible for the strategy linked to MPC and field operations, and also for all infrastructure support such as the installation of machinery, equipment, and systems to support the plant’s operation.

Today, field maintenance is done by an outsourced company. Embraer, corporately, hires this company and they are responsible for the operationalization of the maintenance demands. I am in this strategic position, in relation to the analysis of the assets, in line with the management of the assets as a whole, which encompasses all the planning, tools, and implementation of the best we have in the market, and this is exactly why I came to Tractian.”

The transformation of maintenance routines 

Before adopting the TRACTIAN online monitoring solution, Lage explains that maintenance was basically reduced to corrective and preventive maintenance. Although these models were generally satisfactory, both had a large unavailability history and high costs in several situations where some assets presented failures and needed interventions.

Predictive maintenance was, until then, done in a punctual way at the airplane manufacturer. “We would hire a company, they would come, take measurements for one or two weeks, take the data away, process it, and then report back to us. There were no facilities and platform for online and remote Monitoring, 24 hours a day, before TRACTIAN,” he says. 

The installation of IoT sensors and maintenance management software in the plant happened in November 2020. Since then, 34 devices collect data from eight pieces of equipment: six compressed air compressors, responsible for generating the air used in the plant, and two chemical process tanks for surface treatment (monitoring the rotating elements).

In this first year, Lage lists several positive results. According to him, the automation of the maintenance demands made available by the online platform, the monitoring, the failure reports in their potential condition, the KPI’s generated and the failure analysis with possible causes and solutions made quite a difference in the management of Embraer’s maintenance processes. 

The implementation of the platform that performs preventive, predictive and prescriptive maintenance operates in a well-integrated way and has contributed to increase the level of deliveries in the maintenance area. It generates insight, and when you come in to report what really happened, it already suggests possible causes and solutions of what should be done in order to proceed with the interventions, so it is a powerful tool.”

The mechanical engineer recalls the experience of the first insight generated with the platform: a downtime in one of the tanks of the surface treatment line. 

It was on a holiday, and I received the insight by cell phone. It was a surprise. When I saw it, I said: it really works. When I came back from the holiday, I went to understand what the downtime in question was. We set the time, right? I thought: that’s right, there was no overtime in this asset, so it made sense. That’s where it all started. Today, we can no longer imagine the maintenance processes without the platform.”

Avoiding potential problems 

Throughout these first 12 months using TRACTIAN’s online asset monitoring system, Embraer noticed a considerable increase in the availability and reliability of the assets that received the sensors. 

Reoccurrence of unavailability has decreased. The maintenance people found it great, because we were able to work in a much more intelligent way, because there are no major impacts in the sense that the failure has already occurred. What needs to be done before the failure happens is easier, faster, and simpler.”

The Maintenance engineer also highlights two major problems that started to be avoided after the implementation of predictive maintenance offered by TRACTIAN: potential unbalance and saturation deviations in motor-pump filters. 

We were able to anticipate the functional failure of the unbalances, which would be the shutdown or breakdown of the equipment. When the platform generates the insight, we go to the site with the maintainer to check what is happening.  In several situations, the unbalance occurred, and we were able to avoid a stoppage and high costs to proceed with these repairs. This has happened quite frequently. “

In the case of the pump, the insights of increased vibration indicate that the filter attached to the active may be getting saturated.

As the weeks go by, the liquid that circulates in this filter, a masking agent, becomes saturated, and this generates vibration. We understand from this that the filter is becoming saturated, and then we direct the maintainer to replace this filter element. And this happens every two, three weeks. It is a constant. We have a pressure gauge physically installed on this motor pump, but to see it we have to go to the site, which is not easily accessible. This is why the sensor and the platform help so much. “

Savings on replacement and repairs

With the use of the IoT sensors and TRACTIAN CMMS, the Embraer plant in Botucatu has not had any unexpected breakdown problems in the assets monitored so far. However, Lage recalls a situation before he had the solution with an engine unbalance in 2018 that cost the company a significant amount in maintenance. 

Since we had no predictive identification method, online and remote, 24/7, the problem was getting worse. There was a very big impact, both from production stoppage and with the costs for repair.”

According to the mechanical engineer, the situation is always remembered and compared to the company’s current reality.

We had a situation that the platform would have been able to identify for us to anticipate these eventual deviations.”

Unique in the market

Due to the results obtained and the improvement of the maintenance routines with the use of TRACTIAN solution, Embraer intends to increase the number of sensors and assets to be monitored in the Botucatu plant in 2022. 

Among the differentials that TRACTIAN presents, besides the easy installation of the system, wi-fi network independence and cost-benefit, Lage highlights the efficiency of the platform delivery and the possibility to develop the operational structuring of the CMMS together with the TRACTIAN team, with feedbacks and suggestions about the functionalities that the platform offers.

It is a unique platform in the market, for all that it offers, with great capillarity and integration in the maintenance processes in a simple and practical way that manages to guarantee the result.”

For Embraer, research and development is a latent subject, and the aviation giant intends to continue sharing situations and harvesting fruits together with TRACTIAN. “We are with TRACTIAN because it is pragmatic with results. It is simple, direct, objective, has no beating around the bush, and delivers results. Pragmatism with result. That’s what TRACTIAN is all about,” he concludes. 

Do you want to improve the routine of your maintenance team, increasing the productivity of your plant and ensuring greater reliability of your assets? Do like Embraer and take TRACTIAN to your industrial plant. Schedule a demonstration now. 

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About the author:

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Tamires Zinetti

Journalist, post graduate in Marketing and Digital Media with focus on Business, Law and Administration. She is a specialist in content production for industry and maintenance areas at TRACTIAN, responsible for helping teams in innovative processes.

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