RepAIR – Future Repair and Maintenance for Aerospace Parts

The goal of this research project with twelve partners from all over Europe and from the US is the onsite maintenance and repair of aircraft by integrated direct digital manufacturing of spare parts. Cost efficient and lightweight but robust reliable parts are obligatory for aircrafts. Additive Manufacturing allows completely new approaches: The main objective of RepAIR is to shift the ‘make-or-buy’ decision towards the ‘make’ decision by cost reduction in the remake and rework of spare parts and therefore to improve cost efficiency for maintenance repair in aeronautics and air transport.

The project aims to reduce the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) costs with the help of the Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology as its crucial advantage is the flexible availableness allowing on-time maintenance without having the need of sophisticated supply chains. The AM operations require a higher qualification and promote the preservation and expansion of highly qualified workplaces in Europe.

Moreover, the storage costs will be significantly reduced and less capital is locked up. Additionally, hardly any energy-intensive produced raw material will be wasted or destroyed, but will be used optimally. New business models will become sustainable. When applied in design of new parts, the technology allows significant weight savings. These weight savings will result in less fuel consumption, therefore in a more sustainable way of flying and in a reduced carbon footprint.

European maintenance service providers have to deal with an enormous financial pressure. Competitive carriers focus intensely on low costs of repair services and materials while retaining consistent parts and service quality. The maintenance of complex components such as engines still takes place at nearly 100% in Europe. But for European MRO providers the danger of further displacement still endures.

To face this danger one has to keep and expand the advance through mastery of knowledge and technological lead. Based on the effort of the producers to reduce quantity and variety of components, multiple functions will inevitably be merged in complex components, whose maintenance could be taken over by technological leading MRO providers. For cost optimized work, one has to decide specifically if each component has to be replaced or could be reworked or recreated. If the costs for the production and the overhaul of complex components were considerably reduced, the decision would automatically be postponed from ‘buy’ to ‘make’.

A particular prospective benefit is promised by the AM technology. It offers a considerably lower buy-to-fly ratio of material, an omission of harmful chemicals (e.g. cutting oil) and constant manufacturing efforts at an increasing complexity (single piece assembly). Further improvements of the technology concerning the processing time, accuracy and costs are foreseeable. However, a holistic integration in the MRO processes is not yet researched.

Project statusIn progress
Project duration 36 months
FundingFunded by the 7th framework programme of the EU
Project manager

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Koch, University of Paderborn – C.I.K.


Project coordinatorDr.-Ing. Jens Pottebaum, University of Paderborn
Scientific staff

Gereon Deppe, Christian Lindemann, Ulrich Jahnke, Thomas Reiher, Marco Plaß (C.I.K.)

Involved chairs

Computeranwendung und Integration in Konstruktion und Planung (C.I.K.), University of Paderborn


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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Koch

Computeranwendung und Integration in Konstruktion und Planung (bis 2022)

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