Bombardier gears up for CSeries assembly

The 100- to 149-seat, single-aisle CSeries from Bombardier features wings and fuselage manufactured of carbon fiber composites.

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Bombardier (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) reported on April 7 that it has started work at its aircraft production facility in Mirabel, Québec, to accommodate final assembly of the first flight test CSeries aircraft, the CSeries aircraft, which has composites-intensive wings and fuselage. This is another step in a five-phase development plan for the Mirabel plant, which will ultimately double in size to ~860,000 ft2 (~79,897m2).

Production, quality and ergonomic requirements are driving Bombardier’s technical approach to CSeries final assembly. Although the CSeries jet will be shorter than the company’s 128-ft/39m-long CRJ1000 NextGen regional jet, the fuselage will have a larger diameter and its wings will be longer and its tail taller than those on the CRJ1000. Final-assembly techniques, therefore, will differ. For example, two pairs of robots will be used to drill holes, apply sealant and install fasteners to join the major sections of the CSeries fuselage.

“The fuselage of the CSeries aircraft is 12 ft [3.7m] in diameter, which presents an assembly challenge using our conventional methods,” says Francois Minville, VP, CSeries Manufacturing, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The benefit of the robots is they can work on the top, the side and underneath the aircraft, without any limitations.”

A moving production line is being introduced at Bombardier’s St-Laurent Manufacturing Centre, where major components of the CSeries aircraft, such as the cockpit and aft fuselage, are produced, and a moving final-assembly line is planned for Mirabel. These innovations are expected to create a dynamic environment that improves production efficiency.

Bombardier claims that CSeries aircraft, optimized for the single-aisle, 100- to 149-seat commercial passenger segment, will deliver the lowest operating costs in that class. Bombardier’s goal is to capture as much as half of its forecasted market demand for 6,700 aircraft in the 100- to 149-seat segment. This segment is valued at $393 billion (USD) over the next 20 years.

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