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INDUSTRY TODAY 179
and that had a range that possessed about 1,000 more miles than
the 747, as routes needed extra range (not to mention the pas-
senger amenities).
“It took us nearly five years to integrate all elements into an air-
craft that we could successfully launch,” Stonestreet says. “That
occurred around 2000. A year later, we began taking first orders.”
All the while, the company continued developing a compre-
hensive product-line family that included the single-aisle A320,
the wide-body, long-rangeA330 andA340 models, and theA350
XWB. Development of the A380 provided the capstone to
Airbus’s ongoing efforts.
GLOBAL MANUFACTURING
Manufacture of the A380 represents a global effort – or wings
over the world, Stonestreet indicates. “As with any major aero-
space business, our company – and aircraft production – is spread
throughout different countries,” he says. “Final assembly is sec-
tioned. In Toulouse, we take the main fuselage portions.
Essentially, the aircraft comes into the factory in sections – the
cabin, the wings and the horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Those
components are converted into an operational airplane, with the
addition of the landing gear, the power plant and the engine.”
From there, the developing aircraft is taken to Hamburg,
Germany. “That’s where it goes into the paint shop and the cabin
completion area,” continues Stonestreet. “From there it goes into
the delivery process. So, production doesn’t involve just a single
manufacturing center. If you analyze the manufacturing chain,
you’ll see that individual fuselage sections come from different
parts of the world. Some cabin sections come from Hamburg.
Others come from Great Britain, Spain and France.
Subcomponents come from Italy, the United States and the United
Kingdom. But, basically, two primary factories are involved.
From out of Toulouse comes a plane that can fly. From out of
Hamburg comes a craft that can be delivered to a customer.”
IMPACT
The A380’s impact on Airbus has been just about as profound as
the craft’s impact on the airline industry. “It helped us rational-
ize the thought processes related to company management, as
the A380 represents a major program,” says Stonestreet. “As we
progressed through the A380 development and production
processes, we found that we were evolving – just as aircraft and
the airline industry evolves. We grew from the ‘Airbus’ company
of the late 1990s, which was essentially a management company,
and into a company that encompassed program management
plus commercial and product support.”
Previously, the manufacturing side was handled by share-
holder companies. “Now, we’re a completely integrated com-
pany within the EADS organization, where we have our own
production facilities and utilize the parent company’s own pro-
duction assets. Our role has proceeded from management and
into a complete program,” describes Stonestreet.
IS EVERYBODY HAPPY?
Feedback about the A380 is universally positive, reports
Stonestreet. “Our customers are happy when their customers are
happy, and the A380 makes passengers happy. That’s good news
for airlines. It translates into dollars and cents.”
And sense.
“Our research backs up their assertion that they realize a ben-
efit,” says Stonestreet. “For example, Lufthansa has been flying
the aircraft for a year. They replaced their 747s with the A380
on routes to Beijing, Johannesburg and NewYork. In the process,
they advanced beyond an airplane that seated 350 and into a
plane that could seat 520.”
Other customers got it. And if you don’t still get it, Stonestreet
does the math: “Their planes were flying 90 percent full, so 90
percent from a 520-seat airplane means they were getting more
than 100 percent on the airplane they were replacing,” he says.
That leads back to the W.C. Fields script.
“My dear, are you happy,” he asked his niece, who accompa-
nied him on this cinematic transatlantic plane flight, one that that
included the amenities and capabilities that only his feverish
imagination could conceive, at least once upon at time.
“Oh, yes, Uncle Bill, I am very happy.”
That line indicates the happily ever after that Airbus, its cus-
tomers and the airline industry passengers are witnessing.
AIRBUS • PROFILE
NYCOTE LABORATORIES
Headquartered in North Hollywood, California for more
than 60 years, Nycote Laboratories is a pioneer in the indus-
trial coating technology. Its liquid nylon protection provides
clients an innovative anti-corrosion resistant solution.
Mike Flora, the company’s sales and customer service
consultant describes in more detail that the product
overcomes material limitations – specifically guarding
metals from corrosion, wear, friction and conductivity.
Since its founding in 1956, the company has been a coat-
ing technology leader. It has all but made material limi-
tations disappear. Main products include the one-com-
ponent Nycote 7-11 and the two-component Nycote 88.
Clients include major aerospace players such as Safran,
Boeing and Embraer, among others.
That includes Airbus, of course. “For more than 20 years,
Airbus has used our two-part Nycote 88 system, deploy-
ing it in their A319 models all the way up to their A380, the
world’s largest commercial aircraft,” says Flora.
In Airbus’ case, Nycote products involve multiple ele-
ments in the craft. “Regulator assemblies, metal screws
for such assemblies, lavatories, galleys, electrical con-
nections, motors, hydraulic systems, fuselage connec-
tions – in an Airbus craft, our products perform in count-
less areas,” says Flora.
He provides an example, which relates to conductivity.
“Nycote provides lightning protection, which can be cru-
cial during a storm.”
So, if an Airbus craft traverses electric skies, the pilot, crew,
and passengers are truly safer – thanks to Nycote.