Airbus opens new composites manufacturing center in China

The Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre will produce rudders, elevators, Section 19 maintenance doors and belly fairing parts for the Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft.

Airbus reported on Feb. 28 that the Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre, a joint venture between Airbus and its Chinese partners, was inaugurated in Harbin, China, by Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO, Chinese government officials and partners. The new facilities will mainly be used to manufacture composite parts for the A350 XWB, Airbus’ latest aircraft program.

The 33,800m2/363,820-ft2 facilities are the first of what will be an 80,000m2/861,113-ft2 manufacturing compound, comprising production, technical support, office areas and other services.

The Harbin Manufacturing Centre will produce A350 XWB components (53 percent of the aircraft’s structure will be made of composite materials) including rudders, elevators, Section 19 maintenance doors and belly fairing parts — a significant part of the 5 percent A350 XWB airframe work packages share to be carried out in China.

The facility's manufacturing systems include automated tape laying equipment, an autoclave, automated trimming and non-destructive test equipment. Construction started in June 2009. By 2016, about 600 employees are expected to be working at the Harbin Manufacturing Centre.

Li Fangyong, vice president of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), said, “The inauguration of the manufacturing center demonstrates we are well prepared for the production of the A350 XWB components. It’s our honor and pleasure to be involved in the production of the world’s most advanced aircraft, the A350 XWB, and to become an integrated part of the global supply chain of Airbus, the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer.”

Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO, said, “The Chinese have every reason to be proud they are contributing to the A350 XWB. The aircraft will set new standards in terms of eco-efficiency and passenger appeal. The Manufacturing Centre in Harbin and other Chinese partners will play an important role in its success.”

Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre is a joint venture between Airbus China and a group of Chinese partners comprising Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Corp. Ltd., Hafei Aviation Industry Co. Lt., AviChina Industry & Technology Co. Lt. and Harbin Development Zone Infrastructure Development Co. Lt. It started production of A320 elevators, rudders and horizontal tail plane (HTP) spars in December 2009. Chinese companies contribute five per cent of the A350 XWB airframe work packages.