Technology & Digital Innovation

Winds of change in Brindisi

Expanding repair and maintenance services, from our advanced expertise and technology to all GE businesses.
Brindisi plant is constantly evolving, with increasing focus on customers and their operational needs. This focus translates into offering maintenance and overhaul in line with the same market developments. This is why, in view of diversification, together with services for the Marine & Industrial sector, we expanded local capacity to create a repair center in Brindisi to service all GE businesses. A center, then, with advanced repair techniques and processes, including a technology regarded as the future in the industrial sector, additive manufacturing.
We spoke with Alessandro De Gioia, who - after his important experience as plant leader at the Cameri plant, which is highly specialized in additive manufacturing - undertook a new path, a winning one in his opinion.

What is your first impression, now that you’re back in Brindisi?
What impressed me the most is the fact that in the past few years the company has invested much in the development of the site: aside from the Frames CoE, on which I was fairly up-to-date since I spent time there, I was very surprised by the current renovations throughout the MRO area, and particularly in component repair. The replacement of old systems—such as ovens, thermal spraying plants and measuring machines—is proceeding fast, and in the next few months we will already be able to see the results.
Coming back to Brindisi was like seeing a child after a long time: unlike parents who see their child every day, it’s easier to see how much they have grown, and I think we should all be proud of this.

What changes are the most striking?
If I think that, until not that long ago, when the company was owned by an investment fund, my MRO colleagues struggled for years to lead an investment project to a signing, now the process is much smoother and the advantages are already obvious. This shows that our top management has a more long-term vision compared with what we could do in the past.

Which technologies and capabilities will we offer our customers at this new center?
Other than the most widespread repair capabilities (Turning and milling Machining, Welding, Brazing, Sand blasting, Shot/Glass peening, Painting, Super-Polishing), our shop is also appreciated for some distinctive technologies, such as Grinding, Tip Grinding, High Pressure water jet stripping, Plasma/Thermal Spray and Heat Treatment vacuum and air Furnace. Acquiring advanced technologies, on top of the experience we gained in the past few years, allowed us to offer our services for component repair: indeed, we will offer servicing even to Oil&Gas, for grinding rotors and stators for the LM2500. Our intention is for this to be the first step toward opening other GE Aviation plants, and more. In the forthcoming future, the company strategy will be to expand the store of technologies already available, with specialized ones for repairing certain products, patenting it all to protect intellectual property and competitiveness on the market: kind of like what happened in Cameri from a production stand point, but that here it will happend for repair. In this sense, the Apulia Development Centre for Additive Repair in Bari, which will open shortly, plays an important role.

Could we say that we’re closer to a primary digital industrial impact with these new developments?
The digital era impacts all production areas at the speed of light; at the same time, it involves the repair world at various levels, not just in terms of organization or logistics, in order to erase the geographical boundaries that separate the various sites, but also and especially at the actual production level; on the other hand, the additive repair we're talking about is based precisely on the use of digital data for production ends