FACC starts working on production of first winglets for Airbus A350 XWB
New order for A321 landing flaps further expands cooperation with Airbus
Ried/Salzburg – FACC AG has kicked of the production of the first winglets for the new A350 XWB, thereby underlining its strong position within the civil aircraft aerostructures sector. The leading Austrian aviation supplier and its customer Airbus are celebrating this significant milestone with a ceremony in Red Bull Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport.
“With this life-of-program contract, FACC is demonstrating its competence as a tier 1 supplier for the next generation of Airbus long-haul aircraft”, says Walter A. Stephan, CEO of FACC AG. “The tasks involved in developing the A350 XWB winglets were complex and the technical demands high – today the whole project team with supply partners from all over the world can be proud of a successfully completed the first stage of the multi-year development phase. With a common goal in mind, everyone involved gave of their best and developed a sophisticated product of the highest quality.”
Airbus selected FACC to supply the winglets for its new long-haul aircraft in mid-2010. Under the contract, FACC is responsible for the development, qualification including testing, the design and manufacture of the production tools as well as production and assembly of the individual components to create a system ready-to-install. At peak times over 100 engineering experts were working on the project at several locations across Europe. In addition to the FACC engineering centres in Austria and Bratislava, an FACC development team was also deployed on site at Airbus in Filton/UK. FACC proved impressively that the efficient completion of even extensive work projects spanning numerous locations and companies is well within its capabilities.
With this project, FACC is also achieving new dimensions in component testing: so for the first time on parts of this size – the largest component measures six metres - full scale tests are being carried out at FACC. This involves subjecting the complete winglet system to static and dynamic testing for resilience, fatigue and endurance, up to mechanical failure.
The winglet unit consists of the wingtip (wing extension) and the attached winglet. Winglets are wing extensions that increase the aspect ratio of a wing and thus the lift generated at the wingtip. The better aerodynamics result in improved operation efficiency, lower fuel consumption and a longer range.
FACC technology on board the A350 XWB
FACC components from all three divisions are on board the A350 XWB. FACC Engines & Nacelles is supplying weight-optimised translating sleeves and engine components; FACC Interiors provides passenger door lining, smoke detection covers and overhead stowage compartments. And the spoilers and winglets are provided by FACC Aerostructures. FACC is investing up to EUR 100 million in research and development of the hi-tech components. FACC assumes that when the production rate of the aircraft has ramped-up, around 250 employees at the three production sites in Austria will be working on the production of the A350 XWB components.
FACC awarded contract to supply Airbus with outer flaps for the Airbus A321
Building on the long years of successful cooperation on various Airbus programmes, FACC was selected by Airbus to provide the outer flaps for the A321 and took over the project from the German Airbus works in Stade (Composite Parts) and Bremen (Assembly). This order is of particular significance for FACC and enables the composite specialist to apply its long years of experience to the design, development and production of wing components for the model of the Airbus A320 family.
With this order, FACC is also taking another step forward in production technology and is introducing automated laying in component production. With advanced tape laying the individual composite layers for the flap components are layered flat and automatically. The parts are then formed over a warmed “stamp” into the relevant geometry, e.g. u-shape.
FACC is one of the world’s leading companies in the design, development and production of advanced fiber reinforced composite components and systems for the aviation industry. Their range of products reaches from structural components for the fuselage and wings to engine components to complete passenger cabins for passenger planes and helicopters. FACC is a supplier to all large aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, Sukhoi, and COMAC as well as for engine manufacturers and sub-suppliers of manufacturers. In the business year of 2011/12, FACC achieved a turnover of 355.1 million Euros and employed an average of 1,801 employees. Further information can be found under www.facc.com.
Images are available for editorial use by news media.
Image 1 - Airbus A350 XWB (Copyright: Airbus)
Graphic 1 - A350 XWB winglet design by FACC (Copyright: FACC)
Image 2 - The winglets for the A350 XWB are manufactured from now on at FACC’s production site in Ried, Austria. (Copyright: FACC)