Airbus, one of the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers, has revolutionized the aviation industry with its state-of-the-art aircraft. Among the many components that contribute to the success of Airbus airplanes, the wings stand out as a marvel of engineering and manufacturing prowess.
These wings, which carry half of the world’s passengers, play a pivotal role in the overall performance, efficiency, and safety of the aircraft. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Airbus wing production, exploring the intricate processes and cutting-edge technologies that enable Airbus to create these remarkable structures.
At Airbus, assembling and equipping wings is a little like a puzzle. Consider the A350. Similar to all other Airbus Commercial Aircraft programmes, the supply chain and several Airbus facilities create the composite coverings, spars, and other parts for the wings. Operators then assemble the wings at Broughton plant in the UK.
Each completed A350 wingset is flown by BelugaXL air transporter to Toulouse operating on a blend of 50% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), where it is joined to the centre wing box and fuselage during final assembly.
Before this production puzzle can be completed, a lot needs to happen. The process starts well upstream, with the Overall Aircraft Design. This determines the wing’s shape and characteristics, including flight controls and high lift systems.
A so-called ‘co-design’ phase then begins. A wing’s structural design is matured in parallel with the industrial system required to produce it.
Longer, leaner, lighter
Higher levels of automation will be used in the future to make wings. The ideal combination of manual and automated assembly will be determined by Airbus experts using a method known as “design for manufacture,” ensuring that the wings are manufactured correctly at the right price the first time, every time.
The wings of the future will be longer, slimmer, and lighter. When combined, these features enable an aeroplane to gain lift while using less fuel, which reduces CO2 emissions.
This modification in wing design necessitates a modification in wing manufacture. To cost-effectively construct such a light wing at volume and speed, Airbus’ industrial infrastructure must be outfitted. The transformation necessitates a radical rethink, and Wing of Tomorrow fills that need.
Its goal is to prepare the workforce, the supply chain, the industrial system, and the company’s physical and digital capabilities in addition to the technologies required for the next generation of aircraft. Together, it will develop the flexibility needed to scale up production quickly while taking into account how it will affect the workers who produce the wings every day.