21 November 2012

Challenges for ramp up: capital investment and lean manufacturing (2)

Airbus is committed that lean manufacturing and process improvement will answer as much of the higher output requirement as possible, but capital investment will have to follow in order to reach the company’s rate targets.
For instance, in the A320 program, in October production reached the rate of 42 units a month, while in 2010 these platforms were manufactured at the rate of 36 a month. Airbus would like to increase the rate further.
Airbus is in the process of increasing the production rate of long range aircraft from nine a month to 10 in 2013, with a plan to go to 11 by end of 2014.
“This depends on further developments on the EU-ETS carbon trade system, where a significant number of orders are on hold due to approval by the Chinese government,” said Butschek. “That will determine if we go for further rate increase in long haul aircraft.”
Production of the A380 is ramping up to a rate of three aircraft per month to keep to delivery obligations.

Mr Butschek Airbus COO said it was impossible to define how much of the additional rate could be achieved through further operational efficiency gains but that this was the core focus before further capital expenditure.  
“How much scope there is to improve production processes varies from plant to plant,” he said. “At Broughton [wing manufacture] the factory is already very lean. Yes there is still potential for being leaner here but perhaps there is greater potential in other plants. Of course there is no point in one factory having much higher rates of productivity of main components than another, because they must all come together on time to build an aircraft.”
Before joining Airbus in March 2011, Butschek worked for Mercedes-Benz, DaimlerChrysler and other car manufacturers in global locations covering the Netherlands, South Africa and China.
Based on the article “Ramp up is a challenge but recruitment is no problem, says Airbus boss” published in The Manufacturer

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