A third A320 Family final assembly line (FAL) has opened in Hamburg, Germany as Airbus continues the overall production rate ramp-up for its best-selling single-aisle product line to 42 aircraft per month next year – marking a new industrial record.
The latest operation – which produced its initial aircraft in August – is identical to the two already-existing A320 Family final assembly lines in Hamburg, and consists of assembly stations 41, 40 and 35, as well as a dock for the installation of cabin systems. The new addition matches the others in cycle and speed as an aircraft moves through its build-up process.
These lines currently are working at a combined rate of 21 aircraft monthly, with production to be gradually increased to 25 per month by the end of 2012.
“This is a big success, given that in 2005 all our final assembly lines combined achieved an output of 25 aircraft per month,” explained Daniel Baubil, head of A320 Family programme at Airbus. “This rate will soon be delivered by the Hamburg FAL alone."
More than 100 additional employees will join the final assembly team in Hamburg to manage the workload.
To meet Airbus’ new production targets, the company is further emphasising the importance of cross-functional cooperation and teamwork for increased efficiency. Progress already had been made over the past three years, with lead times successfully reduced by 20 per cent. As a result, an A320 Family aircraft leaves one of the worldwide final assembly facilities – located in Hamburg; Toulouse, France and Tianjin, China – every seven hours.
“Our final assembly lines have reached a level of efficiency which is unique in the world," Baubil added. "We are convinced that an even better quality control will allow us to further accelerate our deliveries in the future."
According to Baubil, a concept for additional improvements already has been developed with the buy-in of several company functions, working closely with Airbus’ own Centres of Excellence that provide the expertise in key production areas, along with the suppliers.