FACC (Ried, Austria; St. Martin, Austria) reported on Sept. 21 that it has delivered to the Airbus Wing assembly line in Broughton, U.K., the first production-standard outboard flap ship set for the Airbus A321. The flap will be integrated into the wing and then shipped to the Airbus plants in Hamburg, Germany, for installation into the aircraft.
In April 2012 Airbus awarded FACC the contract to manufacture the outboard flaps for the A321; and based on its extensive experience in the development and manufacture of wing components, FACC introduced a new manufacturing concept that ensures innovative technologies, automated production processes and optimized product specifications.
Walter Stephan, FACC CEO, says, “This is the first production component of any kind to be shipped from our facility – in addition, this first unit was built at our new state-of-the-art production line using an automated composite fabrication technology and the technical expertise of our employees.”
When we are at full capacity, approximately 120 employees will be employed on this program. “That thanks to the strong demand for A321 aircraft, this work package is a major contribution to future revenue growth of FACC," adds Walter Stephan. Depending on the market demand, the contract foresees approximately 770 outboard flap shipments being delivered within the next five years.
With the production launch of the outboard flaps, FACC has made an important step forward in production technology by implementing automated tape laying ATL, which is consequently used in processing composites for the aerospace industry. In addition, a new hot debulking system has been installed in order to produce a wrinkle-free prepreg for the automated laid-prepreg-laminate process over a narrow radius.
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The teams are still working on the design but the aircraft is expected to have a wingspan of about 3 feet and will be made of double ply, carbon fiber.