The French SME, now a subsidiary of U.S. group Shape Technologies, is exhibiting at the Singapore Airshow for the second time as it seeks to ramp up business in the region.
Around 10 years after diversifying into the aerospace sector, French SME Aquarese aims to raise its profile in Southeast Asia by taking part in the Singapore Airshow for the second time, this time with its own stand. The company will be highlighting its know-how in water jet cutting and other ultra-high-pressure (UHP) processes.
New perspectives have opened up for Aquarese since it was acquired by Shape Technologies in July 2016. The opportunity to develop its business in Southeast Asia comes thanks to sister company Flow, a world leader in waterjet systems which plans to open commercial offices and a demonstration centre in Singapore in the first quarter of 2018.
Aquarese will be looking to boost sales of its waterjet stripping (WJS) and waterjet machining (WJM) units, five of which have already been delivered to a Japanese company which supplies parts to Safran for the Leap engine. The “full 3D” WJM units use jets of water at 6,500 bar to produce complex parts, such as titanium blisks and composite vanes — claimed to be a world first.
The decision to exhibit at the Singapore Airshow also reflects the importance of civil engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities in the region. Aquarese will be hoping to add new customers to its existing portfolio, which already includes Pratt & Whitney, AIDC (Taiwan) and Aeroedge. Future prospects include GE and Rolls-Royce facilities in the region.
Founded 30 years ago, the company doubled sales in 2015-2016 and still sees plenty of room for growth. It is targeting €30m in sales by 2020 (a threefold increase from today), including around 75% in the aerospace sector, about the same share as today.
To handle this rapid growth, Aquarese has almost doubled the floor area of its existing facilities, recently leasing a 2,000m2 building in addition to its existing 2,500m2 facility. The new building also houses the European demonstration and training centre for Flow, opened in September 2017.
One step further
Now the company wants to go a step further, with plans for a new €10m, 8,000m2 building to replace the two existing ones by early 2019, at the latest. Damien Claeyman, who is point man for Aquarese's Asian growth ambitions, explains that the new facility will become a flagship “waterjet factory”. It will house 10-15 waterjet cutting, stripping and knock-out machines. The latter will be used to remove shells and cores from investment cast parts.
Claeyman says the company aims to increase the energy efficiency of the machines, as well as focusing on cleanness, noise, safety, waste treatment and connectivity, to ensure that the machines comply with aerospace standards and to make the waterjet process compatible with industrial production requirements.
Alongside the design and production of waterjet machining units, Aquarese also plans to increase its subcontracting activities. The company has held EN 1900 qualification since 2014 and already performs waterjet cutting on blisks and other engine parts, as well as stripping operations for maintenance or for cleaning new parts. Its main customers are Safran, Lisi Aerospace and Ventana Aerospace. Other companies could follow if the company is successful in getting work on the GE9X engine for the Boeing 777X, for example.
To see our full Singapore Airshow 2018 preview issue, click here.