The outsourcing of composite manufacturing outside Europe is a significant step by Airbus and could be risky because the Chinese partner (Harbin Aviation) is a subsidiary of AVIC, a shareholder in COMAC, which is busy developing the C919, its own A320-sized regional aircraft.
Airbus China COO is Spanish, as the A350 work packages that will be manufactured and assembled (partially and some totally) in Harbin; the Elevators, Rudders, Section 19 maintenance doors and belly fairing parts. Elevators and Rudders are currently being industrialized by Aernnova and the belly fairing by Alestis.
The concern voiced by some Spanish representatives was whether Airbus’ workshare in Spain is being weakened by moving its industrial packages to China. Once again Gonzalez-Ripoll was quick to reassure that there was plenty of work still for Spanish industry. “Moving work to China is more than compensated by the increase in work for the Airbus group as a whole,” he said. “The cake is getting bigger. The percentage of the ‘slice’ for each country may have changed but the size of the piece is still larger.”
HMC build state-of-the-art new facilities in 2009 which were inaugurated in early 2011.
The Harbin factory is ‘state-of-the-art’ with all the equipment needed to produce finished composite parts, including core and laminate cutters, laser projectors, automatic tape layer, hot forming, autoclaves, trimming, radioscopy, NDT C-scan and painting booths. Harbin will deliver the Chinese-made elevators to Aernnova where they will be incorporated into the A350’s horizontal tailplane.
Based on the press release “Harbin Composite Manufacturing Centre delivers 1st major A350 part.