GE Aviation’s aerostructures business has begun the development of a 9,000-square-metre composites production facility at its UK site in Hamble as part of a five-year, $50 million-plus investment at the site to support the company’s manufacture of wing components for the Airbus A350 XWB jetliner family.
This facility will enable GE Aviation, Hamble to ramp-up the output of wing fixed trailing edge components for the A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft, reaching the capacity to deliver up to 13 shipsets per month. The A350 XWB package is the largest production contract awarded in GE Aviation Hamble’s 75-year history, comprising more than 3,000 components that include structural composite panels and complex machined assemblies.
Steve Walters, general manager of Mechanical Systems for GE Aviation said;
Our new production capability at Hamble is part of investments that contribute to a transformation of GE Aviation’s aerostructures business as we meet the program requirements of today and in the future.
The Hamble composites facility is based on a sustainable building concept that will include a 2,000-square-metre clean room, two autoclaves and four large curing ovens for out-of-autoclave composites production, five-axis machine tools, non-destructive testing facilities and offices for administrative and engineering personnel.
The development involves the complete conversion of two existing buildings at the historic Hamble-le-Rice aviation production site in Southampton, Hampshire to create the new facility, which is expected to become operational in early 2015.