erospace leader European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) has announced a spate of global projects for its various divisions since the beginning of 2009.
Eurocopter, the company's helicopter division, is building a helicopter service center at Krikhill Commercial Park in Dyce, Aberdeen, Scotland. The facility will provide support to one of the world's busiest offshore oil and gas helicopter maintenance hubs. Home to major offshore helicopter operators Bristow Helicopters, Bond Offshore and CHC, Aberdeen is already a maintenance center for 59 Super Puma/EC255 family helicopters which fly an average of 85,000 hours per year in offshore missions, representing some of the most intensive helicopter traffic in the world.
The announcement follows a banner 2008 in sales for Eurocopter, which boosted turnover by 7.5 percent over 2007. It ranked as the world's No. 1 manufacturer of civil and para-public helicopters with 588 deliveries.
The EADS Airbus division signed a contract with a group of Chinese industrial partners in January to establish a joint venture factory in Harbin, China, to manufacture composite material parts and components for the A350 XWB program and Airbus A320 aircraft.
The Chinese partners are Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Company Limited (HAIG), Hafei Aviation Industry Company Limited (HAI), Avichina Industry & Technology Company Limited (AVICHINA) and Harbin Development Zone Heli Infrastructure Development Company Limited (HELI).
Eurocopter is building a new helicopter servicing center in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre Company Limited (the Manufacturing Centre) will be set up in 2009. HAIG will hold a 50-percent stake. Airbus China will hold 20 percent, while HAI, AVICHINA and HELI will each hold a 10 percent stake. Manufacturing operations are expected to start in September 2009, and a new plant should be ready for operations by the end of 2010.
The Manufacturing Centre will produce major components for the A350 XWB, as part of Airbus' target of manufacturing 5 percent of the A350 XWB airframe in China. The JV is another step in Airbus' building of a long-term strategic partnership with China. The total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry is expected to be near $200 million per year in 2010 and $450 million per year in 2015.
In 2008 Airbus delivered a record number of 483 aircraft, 30 more than in 2007. The company has 777 orders valued at $100 billion.
Tunis and Toulouse
Airbus' new Aerolia aerostructures division also reached an agreement in January to build a €60-million (US$78-million) components factory in the Mghira district of Tunis. The aeronautical park will cover 8 acres (20 hectares). Aerolia designs and builds the front sections of all Airbus planes.
Also in January, Airbus began construction on the final assembly line for the A350 XWB at its site in Toulouse, France. The 74,000-sq.-m. (796,380-sq.-ft.) factory will house the first stages of final assembly: the joining of the fuselage and wings. The plant will employ 1,000.
During the construction work, the concrete and foundations of the old buildings will be recycled and reused in the new facility. An energy management system will optimize energy use, with a photovoltaic roof providing much of the building's electricity requirements.
The new streamlined aircraft assembly process will allow teams to work in parallel, reducing the time from start of final assembly to aircraft delivery by 30 percent.
Officials with German truck builder MAN and their Saudi importer hold official opening ceremonies at MAN's new plant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
MAN Opens Plant in Saudi Arabia
erman truck builder MAN, along with its Saudi Arabian importer Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd., opened a truck assembly plant in Jeddah in January.
According to a MAN release, the plant was quickly constructed in one year. At the end of 2008, the first 150 MAN vehicles had already rolled off the new plant's assembly line.
The TiB (truck in the box) plant is designed to produce 3,000 vehicles a year in single-shift operation. It assembles MAN TGA-WW trucks and semi-trailer tractors, initially for the local market.
The new plant meets the requirements of the most modern truck assembly and is equipped in accordance with MAN standards, said the company, which has been represented in Saudi Arabia for 25 years.
"The strong growth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East is of the greatest importance for MAN. Our partnership with Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. and the new plant are important pillars of MAN Commercial Vehicles' international growth strategy," stressed Anton Weinmann, chairman of the executive board of the MAN Commercial Vehicles Group, at the opening in Jeddah.
Truck in the box is the MAN concept for CKD (completely knocked down) vehicles, the disassembly of a vehicle in order to ship it to another site for final assembly. MAN said the truck-in-the-box vehicles of the TGA-WW series are prepared for shipping at the MAN plant in Salzgitter, in Lower Saxony, Germany.
LEGO Eschews Outsourcing
LEGO Group officials observe the company's takeover of a plant in Hungary from its former outsourcing partner Flextronics.
urope's largest toy manufacturer, Denmark-based LEGO Group, took over a factory in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, from its supplier, Flextronics, and is now making its own plastic bricks. The plant has produced LEGO products since 2006, when production was outsourced to Flextronics. The LEGO Group took over operations on Dec. 1, 2008. LEGO also took on the factory's 1,200 workers. LEGO is doing the same with a Flextronics factory in Monterrey, Mexico. Globally, LEGO produces nearly 34,000 bricks every minute. The company says it has not felt the effects of the global recession.
Allison Building Factory in India
llison Transmission, a global supplier of commercial-duty fully automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems, is building a new facility in India designed to meet growing global demand. Once construction of the more than 203,000-sq.-ft. (18,858-sq.-m.) manufacturing plant is completed in early 2010, it will also serve as the Allison Transmission India Pvt. Ltd. regional headquarters, with executive, marketing, and sales offices.
"We believe it is important to strengthen our local presence in India to support our growing in-country operations," said Allison Transmission Chairman and CEO Lawrence E. Dewey.