Bombardier has completed the first phase of construction of a 600,000-sq-ft wing manufacturing and assembly facility in Belfast for the C Series airliner, the company announced today. Construction started roughly a year ago and finished on schedule.
The first phase of the new building incorporates a production area, a low-contamination “clean room” and an area for tool storage. The company has begun installing the equipment needed to produce the composite wings, including a fabric cutter, multiple-axis machine cell, pre-formers and an autoclave. It expects to start production early next year.
Part of a £520 million ($820 million) investment by Bombardier in its Northern Ireland operation, the building features a layout and design meant to meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (Leed) standards, particularly as they relate to waste segregation and recycling. Leed is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of “green” buildings.
As part of Bombardier’s wing research-and-development program, the Belfast operation has developed a resin transfer infusion (RTI) technology to make the large one-piece skins and structural spars for the wing torque box. It has built a preproduction demonstrator wing, which Bombardier engineers have tested to its ultimate load, replicating 150 percent of the most severe forces the wing will likely encounter in service.
Meanwhile, the C Series development team at Bombardier’s St. Laurent manufacturing facility in Montreal has reported a successful test mating of an outer composite wing portion to a composite wing box.
“The test joining of the outer wing portion to the center wing box is a significant milestone during the detail design phase of the C Series program,” said Benjamin Boehm, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft vice president of programs. “The test represents the manufacturing requirements for the aircraft long before we begin production, and we are very encouraged by the demonstrator development work and results achieved by our Belfast and St. Laurent facilities.”