Finkenwerder is central to the ramp-up of the Airbus single-aisle model output. As A320 family production heads for a record 32 aircraft a month next year, Finkenwerder has expanded its facilities and revamped some of its production processes to enable the ramp-up to be implemented smoothly.

The plant now has two buildings dedicated to A320 family final assembly, which between them will be pumping out up to 16 A318s, A319s and A321s a month by next year, with the balance accounted for by A320s assembled at Airbus’s Toulouse Blagnac plant.

Central to the single-aisle rate increase across the final-assembly lines in both countries has been the implementation late last year of a moving line for the rear fuselage equipping and systems installation in a new hangar at the German plant.

“The line has 10 stations, and the subassemblies move at 1m an hour between stations, spending a total of 9h at each one,” says Susanne von Arciszewski, Airbus senior manager equipping and installation single aisle. She adds that one station is fixed as it is where hydraulic systems checks are carried out. “The moving line is more efficient as we need just two crane lifts during the whole process, and it encourages improved productivity from the employees, as they can see that the section is moving to the next station and they need to complete their work,” says Arciszewski.

The old method – which is still in use for other Airbus types and at the St Nazaire plant in France, where A320 forward fuselages are built – had fixed docks and required nine days, which is cut to “roughly five days” by the moving line concept.

Once the rear fuselage sub-assemblies leave the equipping line, they are either transported to Toulouse by Beluga (A320s) or to one of the two final assembly lines located nearby.

Finkenwerder’s second final assembly hangar, which was activated two years ago to cater for the production ramp-up, uses a flow-line concept with aircraft moving from station to station every three days. When output peaks next year, completion of each aircraft from the wing attachment station to delivery will take 25 days.

Source: Flight International