Airbus turns to robots for a helping hand
Airbus looks to the future with its new automated production facility in Hamburg
In a move that lines up with Airbus’ (EPA:AIR) lofty ambitions, the company has opened a highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg. Airbus predicts that over 39,000 new aircrafts will be needed in the next 20 years, and to satisfy this demand, the company is looking to further automate its production line.
A telling quote from CEO Michael Schoellhorn shows the intention he has for the company’s production facilities moving forward: “We cannot increase production any further if we continue to produce as we do today”. It seems that the opening of the highly automated Hamburg plant will be the first of many of its kind. Speaking on the new facility, his focus on automation is clear: “Increasing the level of automation and robotics enables faster, more efficient manufacturing while keeping our prime focus on quality”.
Automation in the aviation industry
Roland Berger has predicted that automation in aero-structures production will increase from 35% to 65% in the next ten years. This prediction will ignite fears in the hearts of some, but for the aviation industry, it should be welcomed with open arms. It has been a devastating year, with two separate crashes resulting in the deaths of 346 passengers and crew on board two of Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) 737 Max commercial aircraft. Fellow ‘The Daily’ listeners may be aware of some of the shocking practices undertaken in Boeing’s plants, for those who aren’t here’s a rundown.
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With the tragic losses of the previous year and worrisome attitudes toward safety by its competitors, Airbus’ drive towards automation is a welcome one. There’s a high likelihood that the only commercial flights you’ve ever been on have been powered by either Boeing or Airbus. This is a personal issue. Will Airbus’ investment in robotics and automation mean a safer future in the skies for all of us?