Aerolia adds cleanroom at Picardy plant

Contains the composites lay-up station for aircraft nose fuselages

French aircraft component manufacturer Aerolia has added a €220m composites unit to its plant at Méaulte in Picardy, France.

The unit has begun production of fuselage and shell unit panels for the nose section of the Airbus A350 XWB.

Aerolia has divided the 18,000m2 covered area of the unit into five manufacturing areas, including a 5,320m2 cleanroom, supplied by Scholz Maschinenebau, containing 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 then prepare the panels for curing.

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

A twin-headed machine trims and drills the components in the trimming area, while the non-destructive testing area performs quality control of the fuselage and shell unit panels using 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.

Christian Cornille, chief executive of Aerolia, said at the opening of the new unit: “This new unit will be, for our Airbus customer, a cornerstone in the success of the A350 XWB. This aircraft combines composite and metal technologies, which together with systems and pipes, are our specialities. We can now ramp up production in this unit.”