Airbus A330 Assembly – A story of collaboration between nations.

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A330 Assembly

The Airbus A330 assembly, like other Airbus models is a multi nation, multi company affair. All the major components such as; wings, fuselage pieces, engines, etc. are manufactured in their own plants in their own countries and then transported to the final assembly plant in Toulouse, France. The A330 assembly process was destined to be a very large undertaking for Airbus Industrie with significant new plant required.

In preparation for the production of the Airbus Industrie A330, Airbus partners invested heavily in plant as follows:

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 taxis for runway 34L at Sydney_3_s

A Cathay Pacific Airbus Industrie A330 300 taxis for runway 34L at Sydney.

Airbus A330 Assembly Plant.

BAe England Filton – Seven million pounds was spent on a three story technical centre with 15,000 square feet of floor space.
Chester – Five million pounds was spent on a new wing production line.
Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Germany Bremen, Einswarden, Varel, Hamburg – Four hundred million Deutshe Marks were spent on various facilities in these German locations.
Aerospatiale France Toulouse-Blagnac Airfield – Two point five billion French Francs were spent on the new final assembly plant, the largest investment in this project.

The above partner companies subcontracted out work to other companies in; Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, the United States, and the country formerly known as Yugoslavia.

A330 assembly1

Airbus A330 in the assembly plant.  Note the airline customer tails.

A330 Barrel section

An Airbus A330 fuselage barrel section.

The new facilities were state of the art for the day. Automation in the form of robots drilling holes and applying fasteners during the wing to fuselage mating process were employed.

Airbus, learning from their experience with the construction of the A300, A310 and A320, went ahead and created a very technically advanced and automated assembly process for the A330 and A340.

A330 wing loaded into Beluga

The A330 wings are loaded into the Beluga transport [lane for shipping to the assembly line.

A330 wing assembly

The wing is fitted to the fuselage and then flaps and other fixtures are added.

The station principal was adopted at the Toulouse assembly plant.

Station 40: The wings are joined to the fuselage in a very automated process. Eight robots are used, four on each side of the aircraft, two above and two below the wing.

Station 35: The three fuselage sections are mated and riveted together as well as the attachment of the tail section with horizontal stabilisers. Undercarriage with wheels are attached as well as engine pylons. This process once again is heavily automated with four robots moving around the subject on circular railways.

Station 30: Aircraft are transferred on their newly attached wheels to this large area that can house four aircraft at a time. Here the aircraft have their systems attached. Engineers move form aircraft to aircraft validating up to eighty five systems.

A330 leaves factory

An Airbus A330 leaves the main assembly line and goes to be painted and fitted out.

A330 QANTAS ready for interior fit out

A fully painted QANTAS Airbus A330 is ready for its interior fit-out.

Outside: Completed aircraft are now moved outside the final assembly hangar where fuel and pressurisation testing is conducted. Engines are now attached and the cabins are fitted out. Engine run up tests are conducted followed by flight testing. The aircraft once painted is now ready for delivery and acceptance.

If there is more you want to learn about this airliner, please visit: A330 Home, A330 Specs, A330 Order Book and A330 History.
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