Aviation giant Airbus says the first “cutting of metal” for the Airbus A320neo has taken place in Toulouse. Marking the start of manufacturing of the latest iteration of the airliner, machining began of the first engine pylon component at the “Saint-Eloi” Airbus dedicated pylon and nacelle factory in Toulouse.
Pylons are structures which hold the engine to the wing. The company in a statement says the new pylon for the A320neo retains high commonality with the existing A320’s pylon design, while also incorporating more titanium as well as some advanced architectures developed for the A380 pylon. In addition, the new component also features an advanced ‘aft-pylon-fairing’ concept specifically tailored for the more fuel efficient neo engines.
“This first metal cut of the engine pylon component for the A320neo heralds the completion of the design phase and start of production for the world’s fastest selling airliner, says Tom Williams, Executive Vice President of Programmes at Airbus. “We are excited to be already starting manufacture of the world most eco-efficient single-aisle airliner today.”
The Airbus Saint-Eloi site is specialised in the design, manufacturing, assembly, equipping and testing of engine pylons and design and manufacturing of titanium nacelle parts for all the aircraft in the Airbus family. Featuring the latest efficient “moving-line” lean-production concept, the facility is also the leading European centre for hard metals machining and transformation, including titanium, Airbus says.
The A320neo (new engine option) for the A320 family will enter into service from late 2015. It incorporates latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together with the new engines will deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings, Airbus promises. “With more than 1400 firm orders since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has proven to be the fastest selling commercial aircraft programme ever.”
Pretoria-based Aerosud and Cape-located Cobham South Africa supply various components, structures and communication equipment for the A320 and A320neo Families of airliners.