Airbus - Toulouse
Case Study Airbus - Toulouse

Airbus A380 Challenges of very-large-scale assembly

The Airbus A380 is the most modern, spacious and capable civilian aircraft of all time. It was first shown in December 2000, christened "The Flagship of the 21st Century." The plane was developed in close cooperation with air carriers, airports and air traffic authorities.

The aircraft incorporates the most modern technologies in terms of materials, systems and industrial processes, adhering to the strictest international standards for registration approval. Airbus’ European sites in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain participate in the design and assembly of the A380 aircraft.

The Jean-Luc Lagardère site in Toulouse was specially constructed for the A380: final assembly takes place there. The assembly line for the youngest Airbus consists of several segments. The first unit deals with the assembly of the weight/bearing parts of the aircraft. The second unit conducts tests on the assembled aircraft and installs the powertrains. The third unit conducts the open-air tests that prepare the aircraft for its first flight.

New Challenge for the Assembly Station 40 of the first unit is in charge of the final assembly of the aircraft (both segments and wings). For this purpose, different parts are compared to one another. Strict part geometries have to be adhered to. The project for the assembly of the A380 was begun in 1998. Numerous new challenges had to be mastered: the extraordinary size of individual segments, the oval shape of the aircraft itself (round on other aircraft), double-decker fuselage, and so on. Besides, the tools used for the A340 had to be carried over. These tools had to be adjusted with very high accuracy to allow for the final assembly of the aircraft, and they have to be inspected regularly because they guarantee the correct positioning of different plane segments in space. . . . .

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