Bell unveiled its new 140,000-sq-ft manufacturing technology center (MTC) in Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. While the immediate plan of the MTC is to show the U.S. Army that Bell is capable of economically building future rotorcraft at scale and rate, company executives said the facility would also be used to transform manufacturing throughout the organization.
“The MTC is the next step in successfully deploying new manufacturing technologies and processes into Bell’s future factories,” said Bell v-p of rapid prototyping and manufacturing innovation Glenn Isbell. “These future factories, working together with our teammates and suppliers, will be designed to enable high-quality, high-rate production” of future models, including the V-280 tiltrotor and Invictus 360, should Bell win Army programs to build those aircraft.
Bell will use the MTC to test and refine technologies and processes required to build and support those and other aircraft, including the Nexus urban air mobility vehicle, according to the company. Facility capabilities span core manufacturing of rotor and drive systems, infrastructure, and final assembly. By deploying a networked software infrastructure, the MTC will produce a digital twin of itself that gives everyone a common operating picture of the building, equipment, and processes. The facility will be monitored and controlled by network IT, internet of things, and cybersecurity systems that manage factory material flow and activity.