The production of Aircelle (Safran) engine nacelles for Airbus A320neo jetliners has become a reality with the manufacture of initial full-scale thrust reverser components using concurrent engineering, rapid prototyping, and lean manufacturing techniques.
Aircelle's first-build components include the thrust reverser's forward frame and structural beams, its inner fixed structure and aft extension, along with the aft core cowl. They represent a major percentage of the thrust reverser's structural framework - which becomes an important portion of the overall engine nacelle.
"This marks an important achievement for Aircelle's role in the A320neo program, and underscores our ability to meet Airbus requirements for production maturity and the rapid ramp-up capability required for program timing and delivery schedules," says Vincent Mascré, chairman and CEO, Aircelle.
The elements were produced with composite and metallic materials, applying the same manufacturing process that Aircelle will employ in its series production of the A320neo nacelles - including automated composite lay-up. They subsequently were assembled at the company's Le Havre, France facility, enabling a one-to-one assessment of their integration, along with a confirmation of the ergonomic aspects for production line build-up.
Aircelle has responsibility for the complete nacelle on A320neo aircraft powered by CFM International's LEAP powerplants, including integration on the engine. The A320neo nacelles benefit from Aircelle's proven technology developed for its growing product portfolio - such as the nacelles used on Airbus' A380.
For the A320neo program, Aircelle has developed a comprehensive technology roadmap that incorporates innovations in systems, composite materials and acoustic treatment while also using leading-edge production techniques and processes.
The A320neo is Airbus' new engine option version of its best-selling A320 aircraft family, which offers additional fuel savings and performance improvements for operations of the single-aisle jetliners.