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Logistics For The Superjumbo


The Airbus A380 will be the world’s biggest passenger airplane and it is already a perfect example of global cooperation. The Fraunhofer IML has ensured that the Stade plant near Hamburg will benefit from an optimal material flow and logistics concept.

555 passengers on two decks will be able to travel for 14,800 kilometers non-stop in the Airbus A380 - almost from one end of the Earth to the other. The air route from Berlin to Wellington in New Zealand, for example, covers a distance of about 16,000 kilometers. And although the superjumbo has not yet flown, it is already popular: eleven airlines have ordered 129 planes to carry passengers or freight. 40,000 people throughout Europe are involved in the production of the superjumbo. The manufacture of its various parts is taking place at 15 plants in four countries. In France, individual parts and components are being produced for the cockpit and the section of fuselage to the rear of the cockpit. The Spanish plants are manufacturing the horizontal stabilizers. The UK is supplying the wings and wing components. Seven plants in Germany are involved in parts production and assembly of the fuselage sections, wing equipment, vertical stabilizers and components for the interior equipment and cabin systems. Final assembly takes place at the plant in Toulouse. This is where all the transports converge.

So that the superjumbo can be rolled out onto the runway on time for its maiden flight, production and assembly at each individual plant must run extremely smoothly. “This major project depends on the efficiency of each plant involved,” says Bernd Duve of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML. “The components - be they wings, fuselage sections, turbines or vertical stabilizers - are so gigantic that they surpass the dimensions of any aircraft built before. The plant in Stade near Hamburg therefore had to be converted and expanded. We were given the job of reorganizing the material flow to meet the new requirements.”

Work started on the new logistics concept in May 2002. The IML team coordinated and supported several projects. One task was to establish the internal logistics team at Airbus; another was to prepare the overall logistics concept. In a preliminary study, an overview of all current and planned issues was prepared. “There was a lot to do,” recalls Achim von Arciszewski, Vice President Assembly / Vertical Tailplane at Airbus Deutschland. “With the help of the Fraunhofer IML, we adapted and optimized the processes in order of priority. For example, we introduced a new site transport concept with side stackers and designed special components cars for simple and speedy transfer.” The reason: high levels of cleanness are required in aircraft manufacture. Vehicles used outside are not allowed to enter the assembly halls. They would bring in too much dirt and dust.

Johannes Ehrlenspiel | alfa
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