KUKA Systems selected as supplier partner for Bell 525 Relentless production line.
Bell Helicopters has named KUKA Systems, the global leader in assembly line design, as its supplier partner for developing the manufacturing line for the new Bell 525 Relentless super medium-class commercial helicopter. "The production line will assemble the entire airframe - from 'nose cone to tail cone'," says Robert Reno, group vice president, aerospace division, KUKA Systems Corp. North America.
"We are honored Bell has chosen us as a partner for this category-defining project. In future, the industry will regard this assembly line as a world class, technical manufacturing solution," says Lawrence A. Drake, CEO of KUKA Systems Group. "It also demonstrates how KUKA Systems is coming on strong as the aerospace industry's premier supplier of advanced production concepts. This project leverages our world-leading expertise in building partly or fully automated assembly lines for automotive, aerospace, and other industries with our specialized knowledge of aerospace manufacturing."
“Design and engineering work is under way for the Bell 525 Relentless production line. When the design is finalized and all tooling and processes are confirmed the Bell 525 should become the second largest line KUKA Systems has built in the North American aerospace sector.” says Reno.
The largest is the Integrated Assembly Line being built for Northrop Grumman Corporation to construct the fuselage of the F35-II joint strike fighter program. The success of that project already has earned KUKA Systems Supplier of the Year honors from Northrop Grumman.
The Bell 525 Relentless will be a hybrid of composite material and metal, requiring different processes and tooling. The line is scheduled for setup in Bell's Amarillo, TX, plant. Bell has said it hopes to have the 525 certified shortly after that.
The Bell 525 Relentless will have a maximum gross weight of 18,000 lb plus, and will be capable of carrying up to 16 passengers at a top speed of 260kph (161.5mph) for distances up to 740km (460 miles). It is destined to become the largest civil helicopter Bell has ever built.