For the first time, almost 15 years after its birth, the ENBIS (European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics) conference took place in Italy. Personalities from academia and industry from across Europe and experts in statistics applied to production met for this 17th annual conference which took place from September 10 to 14 in the splendid setting of Castel dell'Ovo in Naples.
Avio Aero has been enthusiastically participating in the conference, reporting the results of the Six-Sigma research methods applied to our manufacturing processes and, in particular, laser drilling processes. These were conducted jointly with the Industrial Engineering Department of the University of Naples Federico II, with which GE Aviation's European business has carried on a historic and prolific academic and industrial collaboration for over 10 years.
"During the opening day, together with Gaetano De Chiara, Frame & Combustor Chief Manufacturing Engineering, we illustrated to the audience of university professors and researchers, experts in industrial and technical statistics across Europe, the success story of Avio Aero and Federico II in the development of a manufacturing process using high-brilliance and energy efficient (fibre optic) lasers for micro-drilling aerospace components", explains Roberto Marrone, GE9X NPI Coordinator Leader.
The research on laser drilling, by which thousands of very small diameter holes enable faster cooling of the hot parts of an aircraft engine, uses a systematic statistical approach to design experiments and result analysis. At Avio Aero, laser drilling is applied to the absolute hottest part of the engine... the combustion chamber. Thanks to the know-how developed on Laser processes, particularly the high-brilliance laser, the Combustion Center of Excellence in Pomigliano has gained key expertise on shaped holes (new generation design of holes in combustion chambers), which makes it highly competitive, at the forefront of technology.
"I believe that integration between statistics and technological expertise is the basis of quality in manufacturing, but also of innovation. We really wanted to have Avio Aero among the speakers of this conference, not just because it is a local company, but especially for the level achieved in terms of integration and for the reality it represents. We had the pleasure of witnessing it first hand by visiting the Pomigliano plant as part of this year's ENBIS program", explains Biagio Palumbo, Professor of Statistics for Experimental and Technological Research at Federico II's Industrial Engineering Department.
Regarding the future expectations of cooperation between statistics and industrial production, Professor Bianca Maria Colosimo, lecturer on Manufacturing Systems and Technologies at the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Polytechnic University of Milan, said that we are experiencing a golden age for statistics. "We can help engineers, computer scientists and companies use Big Data, the huge amount of available digital information, to make predictive analyses even in real-time with statistical methods ‘customized’ and calibrated on the peculiarities of their business."