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Aerolia inaugurates its Composites Unit at Méaulte

Within the framework of its industrial and commercial strategy, Aerolia is developing its activity with the addition of a Composites Unit to its Picardy site. This Unit was inaugurated on Monday 29 November in the presence of Xavier BERTRAND, Minister of Labour, Employment and Health, Didier Evrard, Head of the A350 XWB Programme, Christian Cornille, CEO of Aerolia and Jean-Luc Sturlese, Director of the Aerolia Méaulte plant. The Composites Unit will start production of fuselage and shell unit panels for the A350 XWB nose section on November 30th 2010, the day after its inauguration.

Leading edge technologies at the service of the customers

Representing a total investment of 220 M€, the 18,000 m? covered area of this Aerolia unit is divided into five manufacturing areas:

• The 5,320 m? cleanroom contains the composites lay-up station and the station where the prepared skins are placed on the curing mould and the stiffeners are integrated. An automatic machine simultaneously places 32 carbon tows and the Aerolia teams carefully prepare the panels for curing.

• The curing area consists of an autoclave with a diameter of 7 metres and an inside length of 14 metres.

• The trimming area has a machine with two heads which trims and drills the composite panels.

• The non-destructive testing area performs quality control of the fuselage and shell unit panels by ultrasonic inspection.

• Finally, after painting in one of the three paint booths, the teams of the four assembly lines, which are equipped with nine assembly stations and four robot stations, perform the assembly and riveting of clips and frames on the panels.

Aerolia: the best of metals and composites

At this occasion, Christian Cornille, CEO of Aerolia, expressed the wish that "this new unit will be, for our Airbus customer, a cornerstone in the success of the A350 XWB, this aircraft which associates composite and metal technologies which, together with systems and pipes, are our specialities". With the hope that this new industrial asset will reassure each member of the personnel on the continuity of Aerolia's industrial vocation in France, Christian Cornille continued by thanking "the Airbus Nantes teams who helped Aerolia to produce the first panels for this new aircraft. We can now ramp up production in this unit, in full knowledge of our Airbus customer's expectations and quality criteria".

A350 XWB milestones crossed

The Aerolia team working on the A350 XWB programme has already crossed several key milestones in the composites, metals and systems domains:

• The composite panels manufacturing process is now validated and the absence of major industrial risks has been confirmed at Nantes with the manufacture of the first upper et lower shell unit panels.

• Delivery of the drawing set started in September and will now be the Design Office's core activity until the beginning of 2011.

• Key parts are in production at AEROLIA and in its supply chain, in both the metal and composite domains (ATK, DAHER, Duqueine, MS Composites…)

• At the same time, Aerolia's industrial partners are finalising each work package, validating the assembly concepts and starting production. This is the case for KAI in South Korea, Latécoère, Figeac, Corse Composites and Aeroteam in France.

• Concerning the systems, the first hydraulic pipes for the A350 XWB have been delivered by Aerolia Saint-Nazaire for the customer's flight test installations. "2010 has been, for the A350 Programme, a year of change, with entry into the industrial phase and we are very pleased to be here today at Aerolia to celebrate this important stage in their development" said Didier Evrard, Head of the A350 XWB Programme at Airbus. "Aerolia deliveries to Airbus have started and we are confident in their successful continuation in 2011."

With the support of local stakeholders

Jean-Luc Sturlese, Director of the Aerolia Méaulte plant, then thanked all the local representatives involved - the Préfet of Picardie, the Presidents of the Conseil Régional, the Conseil Général and the Community of Communes for their partnerships in this project and also the Aerolia teams for their investment at the service of the customers: "with this investment, Aerolia now offers the best in metals and composites on the world marketplace and our skills in these two domains are designing our future at Méaulte and our other three industrial sites."

Press release issued by Stelia Aerospace on November 29, 2010


 Contact details from our directory:
Stelia Aerospace Tube Assemblies, Metallic Conduits, Thermoplastics, Fuselage Sections, Nose Cones, Hydraulic Systems & Equipment, Silicone Sealants, Manufacturing Consultants, Anodizing Services, Fuel Tanks & Systems, Aircraft Doors


 Related aircraft programs:
Airbus A350 XWB


 Related directory sectors:
Airframe Assemblies

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