Jigs that will support the assembly of the composite wings for the CSeries aircraft are being installed at Bombardier's new wing facility in Belfast.
Jigs that will support the assembly of the composite wings for the CSeries aircraft are being installed at Bombardier's new wing facility in Belfast.

The jigs will be used to assemble the primary structural components of the CSeries composite wing torque box. They are being installed in the second phase of a new 600 000 ft2 (55 742 m2) manufacturing and assembly facility.

The first phase of the new factory, which will accommodate the fabrication of the composite components, was completed on schedule towards the end of 2010.

“The installation of the wing assembly jigs is another milestone that brings us a step closer to producing wings for the CSeries aircraft programme,” says Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast.

“The jigs are highly automated and will allow us to control the assembly of the wings with a high degree of precision. We already installed a specially designed assembly jig to produce a pre-production wing technology demonstrator, and are now applying what we have learned from this to the actual production assembly jigs. We are confident that, working with our suppliers, we have implemented a tooling process that meets our high production standards.”

All production equipment has been installed in the fabrication section of the new wing facility, which comprises a production area and low contamination ‘clean room’ area. Equipment installed includes a fabric cutter, a multiple-axis machine cell, pre-formers, an autoclave and non-destructive testing (NDT) equipment.

Production of the CSeries aircraft composite wings is scheduled to begin later this year.

Composite wings

The Bombardier Belfast operation is responsible for the design, manufacture and integration of the advanced composite wings for the CS100 and CS300 jets, including all flight control surfaces and high-lift systems.

The primary structural components of the wings will be produced using the resin transfer infusion (RTI) process developed by Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, engineers.

Last summer, Bombardier successfully completed the ultimate load test on the CSeries aircraft composite pre-production wing, replicating 150% of the most severe forces the wing is ever likely to experience in service.

The pre-production wing is part of the overall R&D programme that Bombardier has undertaken to ‘prove out’ the new technology, manufacturing and assembly processes it is applying to the composite wing.

The Bombardier CSeries aircraft

The CSeries features a body built of 70% advanced structural materials to deliver weight savings. 46% of the body – including the wings – will be advanced composite materials.

Designed for the single-aisle 100- to 149-seat market, the CSeries is scheduled to enter service in 2013.