Efficient material flow with the load train Factory Train at Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG. Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG organises its in-house logistics processes at its headquarters in Stans, Switzerland, with the load train Factory Train FT810 with EV2 load carriers with 2 adjustable forks. In-house material transports are now clearly structured and regulated in a timely and cost-efficient manner. With firmly specified routes, the materials are delivered in the right quantities and at the right time to where they are actually needed.
"Remove before flight" - this logo is often read on small red flags on parked aircraft. As a rule, they are attached to brake shoes, engine parts and the aircraft propeller. The same applies to the Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG in Stans. There are small plugs on the flags, which prevent sensitive parts or openings on the aircraft from becoming dirty or clogged. They have to be removed before each flight. At the Pilatus headquarters in Stans, however, one notices the lettering not only on the parked aircraft on the tarmac, but also on the load train Factory Train, which ensures the supply of material to the production facility.
A total of 120 aircraft a year are manufactured in Stans - and the number is rising, as the company is growing and is launching its new twin Business Jet PC-24. It is the first Pilatus jet aircraft in its almost 80 year history that can be used as a business jet aircraft, as well as for rescue flights or freight transport.
The company's growth presents challenges to production. "For us in production, intralogistics is crucial and the right choice of suitable industrial vehicles is an important strategic decision", says Yves Müller, project manager load train at Pilatus. The focus is always on the timely completion and delivery to the customer.
"You need a smoothly functioning intralogistics system. A break in production and material flow can be bridged in the short term, but have a massive impact on the set schedules", says Müller. In addition, 365 days a year international spare parts availability should be ensured within 24 hours. Without a well-rehearsed team and flawless intralogistics, this cannot be done, Müller emphasises.
The steady growth of the entire company is reflected in the Pilatus Headquarters. Looking forward to the production of the PC-24, a new, 10,000-square-meter assembly hall has been built, which has enabled the assembly of 140 aircraft per year since the summer of 2017. New fabrication and assembly buildings were responsible for increasing in-house transport with forklift trucks and other transport vehicles, as the distances between the individual production facilities are becoming ever greater. In addition, materials for production and individual aircraft parts must be moved across the entire production area in Stans. The solution: a load train Factory Train suitable for outdoor use.
Since January 2016, Pilatus has been using its load train Factory Train. This travels - like a train - in accordance with the train station principle making tours through the production and assembly halls over the whole company premises. It stops for the loading and / or unloading of the various aircraft parts, from the small screws to larger metal parts, at 30 designated stations. "The load train Factory Train is the core element for a functioning intralogistics", says Müller. "Of course, this has to happen just in time when the production needs the material. And it has to be done with a certain regularity so that there is not too much material in the production facility stacked on top of each other", Müller explains the use of the factory train route on the company premises. Currently, the load train operates in single-shift operation and, depending on requirements, in two and four-hour intervals through the factory-owned stations. In particular the production of the new business jet PC-24 requires the fast transport of many parts on the factory premises.
The modular load train Factory Train FT810 is made up of a tow tractor type Linde P80 and three EV2 load carriers with two adjustable forks in each. Each load carrier enables flexible loading and unloading and with a possible steering angle of 120 degrees and has a very small turning circle. Compared to the competition, the load train Factory Train offers the customer a clear advantage here, since the load carriers are steered on both axles. Thus, the load train is ideally suited for the production lines in the Pilatus plants. "We can drive in very tight environments in production and assembly. That's why we at Pilatus are completely satisfied", emphasises Yves Müller.
In addition, the load train is equipped for year-round outdoor operation, which is indispensable for the production processes in various assembly halls: lighting system, pendulum axle with spring system as well as the weatherproof load carriers enables the use on the entire Pilatus factory premises and outdoor journeys between the individual assembly halls.
Meanwhile, the load train Factory Train has been touring the Pilatus factory premises for more than two years. During this time, it has helped to supply the production faster and more efficiently with urgently needed parts. With the production of the new PC-24 Super Versatile Jet, which is now gaining momentum, many parts have to be transported with priority across the company area. Pilatus is already considering purchasing a second load train. Everything with one goal in mind: on-time delivery - so that Pilatus customers can take off as planned.
Alpine panorama, Bond flair and Lake Lucerne: The headquarters of Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG in Stans is impressive. The Pilatusmassiv - since 1939 namesake of the aircraft manufacturer - stands as a gateway to the Alps on the edge of Lake Lucerne in the triangle of the cantons of Lucerne, Nidwalden and Obwalden. No wonder that the legendary James Bond film Goldfinger was filmed in the 60s at the factory premises. The largest aircraft manufacturer in Switzerland develops and builds civil aircraft and training aircraft for military pilot training in a picturesque setting with currently over 2,000 employees.