The Aviation & aerospace industry is clearly plagued by two key constraints: insufficient supply chain capacity and inefficient logistics. The industry has been in backlog for many years and as demand for air travel continues to grow, the supply chain struggles to grow at the same rate required to support the demand. The growth in the industry is primarily spurred by strong demand in the Asia Pacific region. In a push to reduce cost and optimize efficiency, there is a conscious effort by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to relocate manufacturing operations closer to the growth region.
UMW Aerospace Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of the UMW Group, was formed in July 2015 for a 25+5-year agreement with Rolls-Royce to manufacture fan cases for the Trent 1000 and Trent 7000 aero engines, which power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A330 neo aircrafts. The agreement not only marked the Group’s first venture into the aerospace industry, but it also made UMW the first Malaysian company to be a Tier-1 supplier to Rolls-Royce. It also stands as one of only a handful of companies in the world with fan case manufacturing capabilities.
UMW Aerospace’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is located in Serendah, Selangor. It is 70% automated and features advanced robotics, precision high-end machining, and full temperature control. The facility is built according to Industry 4.0 smart factory principles and with the future in mind. The design allows for expansion work to be carried out in the facility without interruption to ongoing production operations.
UMW Aerospace’s fan case project for Rolls-Royce took only 2 years to go from ground zero to maiden delivery; and is recognized as one of the fastest aerospace engine component development programs of its kind.
About the Leader
Badrul Feisal Abdul Rahim has been the President & Group CEO of UMW since 2015. He joined UMW in 2010 and served in the roles of Executive Director, Group Corporate Development and Group Chief Operating Officer, before being promoted to his current position. He is an experienced business leader and has held senior management roles in various established automotive and industrial companies. He was also previously the Senior Vice President of Investments at Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional. At UMW, he is committed to driving long-term growth for the Group by placing a sharper focus on nurturing strategic partnerships, enhancing manufacturing capabilities and fostering innovation across UMW’s diverse portfolio.
Overcoming the Challenges
Aircraft manufacturers require strong lean manufacturing competency in order to handle increasing volumes of production. Through close collaboration with its principal partner and drawing on its own expertise from decades of manufacturing experience in the automotive sector, UMW developed the proprietary LEANaero™ production system. The LEANaero™ system focuses on process efficiency, human capital development, and waste elimination to ensure cost competitiveness, increased customer satisfaction and ease of business expansion.
Strategies that Make UMW Successful in Aerospace
UMW Aerospace regards its employees as crucial determinants of its success, especially as the aerospace manufacturing sector is a highly specialized field that requires niche, technical expertise. It continues to invest heavily in the development of its workforce and is proud to have on its team the first person in Malaysia to gain Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Level 3 Certification in Digital Radiography for the Aerospace sector, the first female in Malaysia to achieve NDT Level 3 Certification, as well as the first Malaysian to be a Rolls-Royce-certified titanium welder for an aerospace original export manufacturing application. The UMW Training Centre (UTC) was also established to ensure a consistent supply of talent UTC is poised to be the prime center for aerospace education and training in Southeast Asia which will in turn, further support UMW’s goal of positioning itself as the preferred strategic partner to aero engine OEMs.
Benefits to UMW’s Clients
Ensuring customer satisfaction has always been a core business philosophy of the UMW Group of Companies; and UMW Aerospace has the right people, processes, and systems in place to ensure that it is able to deliver high-quality products on time, all the time. The company’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation means that customers can also expect solutions that are relevant and responsive to their changing needs.
The buoyant aerospace industry, underpinned by robust demand for commercial aircraft, augurs well for UMW’s emerging aerospace business. The fan case manufacturing facility in Serendah is expected to reach full production in 2021 and UMW looks forward to broadening its engagement with Rolls-Royce, as well as to exploring opportunities with other primary players in the commercial aerospace industry.
To consolidate UMW’s entry into the sector, the Group has long-term plans to develop its 861-acre land bank surrounding the aero facility into Malaysia’s first integrated industrial park. The UMW High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Park is envisioned as the future home to a comprehensive aerospace manufacturing eco-system, as well as to companies in other high technology sectors such as medical equipment, rail and automotive.