SAFRAN Aircraft Engines accelerates training the next generation of CAM programmers, machine operators and engineers with Hexagon digital twin simulator

11 April 2024

Safran Aircraft Engines (SAE) has selected new training technology now available globally from Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division which leverages the power of its digital twins to halve the time taken to help train new machinists to use valuable shop-floor equipment as part of SAE’s strategy to train the urgently needed aerospace workforce. The new highly realistic training simulator reduces the risk of damage to business-critical production machinery by training new engineers that would previously have been given access to sophisticated shop-floor equipment with limited “hands on” experience.

Training aerospace engineers to use CNC (computer numerical control) machines and similar tools is expensive, slow, and potentially dangerous. As part of SAE’s revised training strategy for new engineers, by using HxGN Machine Trainer, trainees can accurately and interactively replicate ‘real world’ scenarios with a physical simulator, making is possible for SAE to onboard and upskill their new employees faster than ever before.  HxGN Machine Trainer will play a significant part in SAE’s new training programmes, including ‘Adaptative Machining’ by providing less theoretical and more practical experiences to enable trainees to become autonomous in half the previous time.

The shortage of pilots and maintenance technicians is recognised inside and outside aviation circles, but aerospace manufacturing is also struggling with employee retention, turnover, and workforce capacity. In the US, for example, job openings are hovering near all-time highs at 800,000 with 55% roles unfilled (1), with almost three in 10 manufacturing firms in Europe reporting production constraints in the second quarter of 2022 due to a lack of workers (2).

SAE operates a fleet of nearly four-hundred valuable business-critical CNC machines that are dedicated to the production of LEAP© Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion jet engines, which that could be damages is used to train and onboard new engineers who are not familiar with the equipment. HxGN Machine Trainer solves the problem, as the simulator is designed to be as realistic as possible – with hardware that replicates the look and feel of a real machine. Its 43-inch screen displays accurate simulations of a large variety of machine and cutting tools, complemented by a light tower, physical CNC hand wheel that enables trainees to take control and respond to issues exactly as they would on the shop floor.

“SAE has historically worked with Hexagon on the WYSIWYC (What You See Is What You Cut) concept, using its NCSIMUL simulation software to prove out machining strategies in the virtual world before implementing, and it is this principle that lies at the heart of our decision in choosing the HxGN Machine Trainer.

“In a competitive market for skilled aerospace engineers having HxGN Machine Trainer is vital for SAE, to ensure that we can onboard new engineers as fast as possible, with no risk to our expensive shop-floor equipment. This minimises potential production downtime because of damage to technology such as CNC machines being used for training,” commented Philippe Audinet, Head of CAM Software and Commercial Development and Support department, Safran Aircraft Engines.

SAE’s first practical work on their ‘Adaptive Machining’ training modules will be undertaken by new trainees on the HxGN Machine Trainer before the end of the year at Campus FAB a state-of-the-art industrial training centre near Paris that showcases all aspects of the connected factory.  In addition, because of its portability and ease of transportation, HxGN Machine Trainer will also be made available to various schools throughout France to show how SAE is driving innovation and inspire future aerospace engineers.

1. Deloitte 2023 Manufacturing Outlook
2. World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report, 2023.

Hexagon is the global leader in digital reality solutions, combining sensor, software and autonomous technologies. We are putting data to work to boost efficiency, productivity, quality and safety across industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, public sector, and mobility applications.

Our technologies are shaping production and people related ecosystems to become increasingly connected and autonomous – ensuring a scalable, sustainable future.

Hexagon (Nasdaq Stockholm: HEXA B) has approximately 24,500 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 5.4bn EUR. Learn more at and follow us @HexagonAB.
Media Enquiries
Robin Wolstenholme
Global Media Relations and Analyst Relations Manager
Hexagon's Manuacturing Intelligence Division
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