Premium Aerotec Begins CFRP Production for the Airbus A350

An automated placement machine laid the first carbon fibre layers at a ceremony watch on by over 200 employees. These parts, once cured will form an aircraft fuselage shell which will later be assembled at Airbus in Hamburg.

Premium Aerotec will make both side shells, the rear pressure bulkhead and the floor grid and further fuselage components. The A350 XWB is Airbus’s first model made to a large extent from carbon fibre reinforced plastic and Premium Aerotex is one of the largest suppliers for the new fuselages. While the –900 version, which is almost 67 metres in length, is already in commercial service, now, the production of the sister model –1000, which is around seven metres longer, is ramping up.

At the company’s Augsburg plant they are producing the side shells of the rear fuselage, floor structures and pressure bulkhead, meanwhile in their Nordenham facility, Aerotec are producing the entire front fuselage section. Both the front and the rear fuselage section of the larger A350–1000 are over three metres longer than in the case of the –900. Static implications required significant changes in construction.

With the version –1000, important innovations come to reality: For the highly complex door surrounding area a new CFRP technology solution has been developed in collaboration with Airbus contributing to significant weight & cost savings. Furthermore, changes in the laying process have resulted in a reduction in production time.

The outer shell of the fuselage of the A350 XWB is distinguished due its low weight and its non-corrosiveness. Manufacturing of the highly complex fuselage structure as a light-weight construction for the A350 XWB comprises automated manufacturing of the outer shell with a fibre placement system as well as the hardening in the autoclave. In Augsburg, these work processes take place in a production hall that was exclusively built for this very purpose with an area of 25.000 square metres.