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Wed, Sep 06, 2023

Airbus Announces Surprisingly Automated Facility for A321XLR Production

Factory to Boast Suite of Econo, Eco, and Auto Features Beyond the Norm

Airbus announced a brand new facility focused on production of the upcoming A321XLR, to sport nearly 10,000 square meters of production space to create rear fuselages.

While the addition of more floor space and production lines is rarely interesting, Airbus is going about it a little more aggressively than usual, equipping the Finkenwerder site with all kinds of funky, fresh, and familiar goods to pump out as many aircraft as it can. Much like competitor Boeing, Airbus has its eyes set on some surprising output figures in the future: 75 aircraft a month from the A320 family by 2026.

The new factory lies near Hamburg, Germany, where a “a full range of state-of-the-art technologies for operations and manufacturing, such as automated logistics, fully digital systems, and test stations that can output the status of each fuselage section (both in terms of logistics and resources) at any time”. The reliance upon machinery to not just assemble but inspect, check, and progress each system as it moves towards a complete production aircraft isn’t entirely new in the industry, but the decision to embrace it so wholeheartedly is a bit rare. The lengthy fuselage sections will progress through an 8-stage ‘pulse line’, being equipped with their electric, mechanical, and comms systems in addition to the more mundane aspects of aircraft furnishings like windows, paneling, and trim. Once complete, the fuselage piece will be taken over to the final assembly line in Hamburg to be fitted to a complete aircraft. Of course, the usual ecological stuff is all there too. Plenty of insulation and automated climate control, solar panels on the roof, and ventilation designed to minimize power usage abound. 

“This investment in the A321XLR equipment installation hangar at the Airbus Hamburg site is an important milestone towards transitioning aviation to climate neutrality. This transformation is the key to making Germany a future-oriented and competitive aerospace location,” said Anna Christmann, the Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy. “I am delighted that Airbus is positioning itself as a trailblazer in sustainable aviation and that we are pulling together to accelerate progress toward climate-neutral aviation even further.”



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