May 06, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Bombardier’s CEO, Alain Bellemare announced yesterday the company will streamline to a Train and Business jet company.
This means there is no longer place for a Commercial aircraft division nor its Aerostructures parts in Belfast and Morocco serving these aircraft.
Bombardier is a debt-laden company. The CSeries development together with Global 7500 and Learjet 85 loaded Bombardier’s balance sheet with nine billion dollars in debt. There is since years a high priority to lower this debt level while focusing the company on Trains and Business Jets.
The Belfast facility’s key activity is doing wings for Airbus A220 aircraft. It also does nacelles and has won a future nacelle program for Airbus A320neo aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines. Belfast also does fuselage sections for Bombardier’s Business Jets but this is of a lesser scale than the Airbus engagement.
The wing for the A220 is made with a unique Resin Transfer Injection (RTI) process which is ideally suited for manufacturing wing structures in the size and quantities needed for the A220 series.
It combines a manual dry Carbon fiber mat layup with an injection of the Epoxy resin when the fibers, laid on the wing skin’s female mold, have been bagged and placed in an Autoclave. The wing skins produced are then entering the autoclave a second time adding additional mat layers and the wing’s stringers. The additional parts are then co-cured to the wing skins. The result is CFRP wing skins of high quality produced at a very competitive cost level.
This technology is the Crown Jewel of the Belfast operation and Bombardier assumes it can get Airbus or one of Airbus aerostructures partners to pay top dollars to get hold of this asset. With Airbus expanding the reach of the A220, there is a long term future for the Belfast Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) wing technology.
I would think Airbus would like to restrict the technology to only Airbus projects. This would speak for an Airbus purchase of the asset. Why hasn’t then this happened already? Airbus and Bombardier are partners in the A220 program?
We must assume Bellmare wants more than Airbus has offered to pay. By opening up to competition he hopes more debt can be paid off by selling to the highest bidder.
If acquired by one of the tier-one aerostructure players like Spirit Aerosystems or GKN, the technology could be used for other aircraft programs than Airbus A220.
The Belfast developed technology produces a composite wing to an attractive price with rather modest investments in tooling infrastructure. There is no need for Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machines costing tens of millions dollars for laying down hundreds of layers of pre-impregnated tape (Prepreg), before cooking the lot in the autoclave to a wing skin or wing spar.
The Belfast process in manual in its layup of precut mats but tape laying of prepreg tape is also largely manual today. After each automated tape laying layer (and there are hundreds in a wing skin) the whole surface must be manually inspected and any faults corrected. It’s a process which takes as long as the laying of the tape for the layer. In the Belfast process, the persons laying down the mats do this inspection concurrently with extending the fiber cloth.
The Belfast process is the present lowest cost process for doing a CFRP wing of high quality. The Russian AeroComposit process with Resin Infusion of Dry Fiber which is cured in ovens promises even lower cost. But the lack of the compacting and gas evacuating high pressure of the autoclave makes the quality level and by it, the strength to weight ratio, an unknown.
Only Russia’s United Aircraft knows the answer and with western sanctions hitting its western sourced production materials, it will most likely be tight-lipped with how it’s Russian dry Carbon fibers and Epoxy resins perform.
An interesting dilemma for Airbus. Bjorne you seem to be suggesting that with the facility also the IP is up for sale, is that correct?
Also you refer to it being ideal for production of wings at the forecast levels of production. Do you mean by this high levels as opposed to TA applications? Is this technology going to bring costs down (in time) to the current A320/B737 wing costs? Ie is this viable asa future tech for a new replacement aircraft in that category?
What IP do you have in mind?
Injection of Epoxy resin is known for concrete repair for decades. Therefor I would guess at smaller scales than an airliner’s wings these technique was already used with carbon fiber.
Belfast is still within the EU and not the US where you can nearly patent any strange nut.
The value of the Belfast production facility is less degree some IP rights than the knowledge of the workforce to do it right.
Just a bit of a variation on the above.
The difference is in both the engineers and the workers. The engineers are familiarity with the intricacies what you can do and the workers of course know how to implement it.
IP is nada.
Boeing is the one that should buy it! They need it for the 797 and the 737RS.
MHalblaub and TransWorld,
Remember that there is way more to IP than just patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Trade secrets and expert knowledge are also IP even though they are not covered by federal intellectual property law (at least in the US).
An engineer’s familiarity with what can be done in specific situations and a worker’s knowledge of how to execute those plans certain falls under the category of trade secret, if the company is vigilant in safeguarding said knowledge. Employees also hold the expert knowledge, depending on what kind of agreements/contracts are struck between them and the company.
So, IP is a huge part of what Bombardier is putting up for sale.
Yes, how much clever tools and skilled engineers and mechanics and inspectors are involved to make flawless carbon wings quickly and cheaply. The question is how cheap, how good and how fast.
Yes. The carbon fibre composite made of resin and carbon fibres was invented by the Brits in the early 60s, so isnt a new thing. ( Fibre glass preceded it and a newer composite known as Fibre-metal laminates- as used in A380 upper fuselage panels known as GLARE)
What is either newly invented or a trade secret is the automated production processes to make large scale structural parts to the very high standards required with high cost materials. Often other IP is held by the fibre/resin tape makers and the builders of the automated equipment
Interesting, I hadn’t thought clearly enough of what form of IP, process or the wing itself. My focus was really on whether this wing could be used as the basis of a new larger wing for a A320 replacement.
The IP patient is owned by Shorts Brothers Plc (Original company name as still on the London stock exchange and oldest aerospace company in the world) not Bombardier. The wing facility is state of the art and is geared for high production rates and is easily increased by adding additional autoclave capacity.
Pity to see our loyalty to this firm treated with such disregard, sad day for us all in n. Ireland.
Short Brothers Plc is a subsidiary of Bombardier since 1989.
“The British Government signed over the state-owned aircraft and guided missile maker Short Brothers P.L.C. to Bombardier, a Canadian company. Bombardier, which makes subway rolling stock and small passenger jets, paid $:30 million, or $48 million, for Short Brothers. The Government gave the Montreal company $:780 million, or $1.25 billion, to assist in the takeover.” NY Times
You are correct the idea that someone can take the technology or indeed the wing “away” is not that easy. . Whilst this is a challenging time for for Belfast it is also a tremendous opportunity for ” queen’s island” and indeed for the potential buyer/buyers. The A200, formerly known as the C series is really cutting edge and the wing for it a good “pay the rent”starting point for anyone with the vision to push a willing workforce with a “get it done” work ethics econd to none towards new programmes and sustainability and thus growth. Belfast has always performed and their ability had never been in doubt.
The Shorts entity is a 100% owned subsidiary of Bombardier. Presumably things organised that way for the UK govt to keep their finger in, simplify launch aid (UK aid goes to Shorts, not Bombardier) and ensure Bombardier didn’t run away.
Would be interesting to know a breakdwon of activity and value creation by % at Belfast but my guess is almost all of the value there is completed by Shorts as, in addition to doing the R&D & owning the IP, the actual spars, stringers and skins are manufactured by Shorts, along with Learjet wings etc.
CompositesWorld (https://www.compositesworld.com/blog/post/cseries-composite-wing) mentions Great Britain patent GB2316036, which has expired.
No idea if there if there is other important IP.
Well when this is finished it’s a sad day for Canada, we are no longer a plane manufacturer. ( Just a few private jets) This is a high tech industry Canada have spent billions supporting.
It was actually a massive drain for Canada at times because so much govt money was tied up supporting even the after sales in form of loans, other industry was neglected.
Honestly I guess Canada are just not a big enough country to “stay in the game” but when this is finished we really have lost everything.
We will not really end up with any powerhouse companies left making parts for planes and we will end up with very little assembly in Montreal.
This mess predates Justin, and perhaps it was inevitable, with the Russians, Chinese and Japan getting into aircraft production. All of them are making a C series size plane, and Embrarer was just bought by Boeing.
However Canada actually did make a horrible deal giving away the plane at $1, but it requited billions more loans and massive new assembly plants, and I don’t think Bombardier had the actual knowledge to do that efficiently. And realistically I’m not sure Bombardier could have got orders that make money. Delta’s order was a gift to Delta from Bombardier it’s way below costs.
Also perhaps it’s still to early but I don’t see AA UA or any other large players buying the plane.
Anyhow it’s a sad day for Canadians.
Bombardier is a huge success for Canadian Aerospace, Canda still has a HUGE aerospace industry and Airbus is quite happy to invest in expansion due to NAFTA, CETA and TPP. This sale is probably also triggered by the Brexit fiasco and also the preding aerospace trade war between Europe and USA.
A few private jets? Its a $5 bill yearly revenue business ( Transportation is $9 bill) and they delivered 137 business jets last year over the Global, Challenger (350, 650), and Learjet 75 ranges.
Well, the business aircraft of Bombardier are still produced, and the Dash7 though Bombardier wants to sell that line. We’ll see if anyone wants to buy it, perhaps the capital behind Viking, or Spirit Aerosystems who build noses of Boeing airplanes in Wichita.
And there are small manufacturers including Viking Aviation which manufactures new Twin Otters and wants to manufacture new CL4xx firefighting aircraft. (They have rights to all dHC aircraft earlier than the Dash 7.)
Sir, I understand your reasoning about the parts for aerospace and streamlining your new and some old business ventures. We as Americans could bring that industry back here. Or support it there, which would you prefer, I mean if it’s doable for us? I’m currently adviseing someone on the subject. You might contact whiteandcasein in america about such business ventures possible they have a client that could solve this issue create jobs and preserve some of there’s if they’d like to move or relocate. Please show them this email, it might make sense to them. After all how much real estate would they need for such a task, possibly a small airport to make shipping easier. Thank you dawn
It’s a sad day for us here in Belfast as well we have for years been under pressure to hit cost cutting targets and have always come through with the required reductions. This is our reward for many years loyalty to Bombardier who seem to be hell bent on selling of its assets to satisfy share holders with some sort of dividend. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved here in N. Ireland and I’m sure as long as there’s a buck to be had we won’t be the last to fall under the Bombardier hatchet, I wish my fellow aerospace colleagues across the pond warm wishes and good fortune but remember this company is ruthless when it comes to getting money so watch your backs guys.
A sad day indeed. On the heels of International Workers Day – how ironic. To my knowledge Belfast has done nothing but good work for the company. I guess the CEO needs the savings to make the numbers for his 2020 payout bonus. We all know that individuals making millions trumps living wages for the 99%. And of course, the incredible talent required to drive a company into the ground needs to be remunerated. Total disregard for workers and their knowledge/experience.
Dawn why would anyone want to move to the states? For their great health care system? For their stellar human rights record? Maybe it’s for the way the government’s economic sanctions on this aircraft contributed to the company’s decline?
It’s easy to blame Bombardier and suggest they have shortchanged the workers. Instead of suggesting that BBD is not doing enough for Ireland and the UK why don’t you ask what has Ireland and the UK have done for Bombardier? Tell me how many CL 215/ 415, CRJ, Q 400, CSeries have been ordered by Irish or UK operators in the last 50 years.
Conspiracy theory alert!
More likely the usual corporate short-term thinking. IIRC Bombardier’s train division was troubled years ago, and is vulnerable to currency exchange rates and ‘buy local’ and trade wars. (It made the stainless steel cars for the NYC subway system decades ago, I don’t know where final assembly was.)
I understand the angst but its the way the world works.
Sometimes its for the long term best. BBD was not it.
GK, Spirit, Airbus or Boeing would value it highly. Its nice to be wanted.
Its not a sad day for the plants in Northern Ireland. There cant be an aerospace factory in Europe – similar in US- that hasnt had a new name on the gate over the years.
Fokker factories in Netherlands is owned by GKN, the Broughton factory in Wales was de Havilland, then BAC /British Aerospace/BAE and now Airbus. What was the Stearman plant in Wichita became Boeing ( at the split up of United Aircraft) and is now Spirit – even Spirit changed owners as Boeing sold the plant to private equity initially.
The Bombardier name was put in existing plants in Canada/US ‘owned’ by de Havilland , Canadair and Learjet. (The de Havilland name will be coming back for the turbo prop business)
“even Spirit changed owners as Boeing sold the plant to private equity initially.”
Just FTR, the plant changed owners, to Onex from Ontario who formed Spirit to operate the plant.
Spirit is now a publicly traded company. It owns facilities around the world, including the former Bombardier composites plant in Northern Ireland.
I don’t really see the decision to use this very expensive composite wing on the Cseries as a good decision in the end. Its cool, sure, but the E195 get along nicely with a standard wing and te G7500 is also an alum. wing. I think they are selling it to Airbus as to meet the cost targets A220 they cannot really make any margin on the wing. So vertically integrating it is the best option.
Mark: Business jets are not the same category in what makes it work as the commercial.
To be a player the A220 needed to exceed not just match. The wing is the biggest part of that (engines of course as well but everyone has the engine)
Embarer could not do it and the range of a regional is not as much of the issue. Their big boys won’t sell due to scope.
A220 leapfrogged scope and got itself into the edge of 737-8 and A320 markets. For those its exceeds them both. It has the engine and the wings.
BBD just did not have the capability to do right and succeed on resources.
They did it right. Airbus will make it succeed.
The E195 is very close to the CS300 in size and efficiency (maybe 15% smaller) but it is completely conventional in construction. I am not convinced BBD gained anything with composite wings on the Cseries.
Empty weights are probably similar for A220-300 and E195. But usual
2 class passenger capacity is 140 to 120 and of course better range,
“JetBlue is to replace its Embraer E190 fleet with the Airbus A220-300 — formerly the Bombardier C Series CS300 — starting in 2020, driven by what the carrier calls ‘compelling’ economics.”
–RunwayGirl Network, 11Jul18
Those are not the E2, but much older E 190s. The CASM for E195 E2 and CS300 are very close
So all those new airliners since 2008 with carbon fiber wing made a basic mistake doing so?
So by measuring CASM , does that exclude fuel costs like most do?
On larger planes it makes more sense on single aisles the spans are not as long so Aluminum is sufficient. I am not sure but the conventional coonstuction of the E195 seems to do quite well. OTOH it does have a smaller cross section vs the A220 as it is only 4 abreast vs 5. But considering all the high tech materials in A220 I was hoping for a bigger payoff in term of weight relative to the E195 E2. They don’t even use ALLi in E195 E2 AFIK.
Normally a carbon wing should been designed more slender and a few % more efficient, but the long time benefit is life and no corrosion for a plane that should do 12-16 flights/day, so after year 12 the benefit should increase for a carbon wing.
It is different for a widebody where the log cruise at a few % more efficiency really makes a big difference and is then worth the highter price.
If you do not fill the A220 and do not use its max range and only use it for 4-6 cycles a day plus get rid of it after 6 years there is no point of paying extra over an ERJ195E2.
On the basis of the above comments, the UK government will have a very large say in who gets what. In particular the IP appears to be under the control of the UK government on the grounds that Short Brother’s were at one point nationalised. If I ‘m wrong please correct.
Excellent bit of IP to have. Love to know who does control the IP.
I do think the NI plant is secure. The A220 has a tremendous future. To me it will be more jobs, not less jobs. If the UK government do control the IP, then it is definitely more jobs not less jobs.
Fully agreed it has a bright future.
The issue is Brexit hanging over it. Clear that up and its smooth sailing and a wonderful addition to Ireland.
All the IP is fluff. Its the knowledge of how to make it work for the low cost end and the next A320 will need that (as will 797 if it comes to be and the 737RS/Y3)
Move it to the US where your costs are really competitive in a good environment and even better (spin off plant for A320RS)
As I said up thread, the knowledge of “how to make it work” is part of the IP. It’s called trade secrets, or in some cases, expert knowledge. IP is not fluff, it’s the stuff of real value.
Composite wing production was developed after UK government sale in 1989. The new factory itself was largely paid for by Britain, maybe some composite development grants as well .
Im not seeing a move of the work from this factory anytime soon, any more than wing production in Broughton Wales moved after BAE sold it .
Thank you, I had not seen anyone articulate the wing build process and why its better than anything out there (known)
You put it clearly and well.
I assume Boeing is looking it and the Russian methods to do the right cost needed for the 797 and the Y3.
Boeing will be the prime bidder.
They need this and a leg up for the 797 and the Y3.
What a leg up on both projects.
I was a little confused at first, when Bjorn said BBD would be a Train and Business Jet company. But I looked around a little and it appears that for now, the CRJ line will be part of a single, consolidated Bombardier Aviation unit.
Given reporting last year that BBD lost roughly $2M on each regional jet delivered, that doesn’t seem sustainable (obviously).
CRJ is not the Business Jet part.
Its the Challenger, Global Express and Learjet.
But in the restructuring, the CRJ will be under the same manufacturing and sales operational unit of Bombardier as those Biz Jet models. Until and unless BBD decides to spin off the CRJ, which has been an idea in play.
Yes, and CRJ will be spun off or kept but fits in with the Business End as well.
Does someone want to buy it and for how much vs profits as it continues under the scope clause?
Its paid for so the economics would be good.
Well there is one company that has built ( painfully) a very good modern CRJ replacement but doesnt have any experience in the sales and customer support area .
Guess who ?
Mitsubishi already makes the following Bombardier airframe sections
Bombardier Challenger 300 series
Bombardier CRJ700/900/1000/550 series
Fuselage Sections: Aft fuselage
Bombardier Dash 8 Q Series
Fuselage Sections: Centre & aft fuselage;
Empennages: Vertical & horizontal tail plane, elevator/rudder;
Aircraft Doors: Doors
Bombardier Global series Wings: Wing (Global Express);
Fuselage Sections: Centre fuselage (Global Express)
The cost savings compared the 787 and 350 CFRP processes come in part due to the elimination of the AFP machines and less automation? That’s good news for the workers.
I’m a little surprised that the A220 wing process requires two rounds of autoclave curing. It addresses a different part of the aircraft, but the recent automated production improvements for GLARE involved reducing a two-cycle baking process to a single-shot simultaneous curing of the stringers and skins.
The detail of the ‘ 2 round autoclave’ use is covered here. The first stage doesnt seem to be curing as such.
“Injection can by aided by up to 14 psi pressure. However, deviating from true LRTM, Bombardier is injecting after the layup has been placed in its 70 ft/21.3m long by 18.5 ft/5.6m diameter autoclave, enabling temperature and pressure to be maintained at the level required for reduced viscosity and wetout ..”
Should not only be Airbus and Boeing.
China, Russia, maybe even Embraer could use it.
With this beeing such a major part of the CS I don’t see how Airbus can let this go.
They need to ensure they keep the IP and infrastructure at their control.
I agree, Airbus are likely to be forced to own this solely to protect their supply chain. Can you imagine Boeing buying this and deciding to not supply the A220 after existing agreements expire…
Embraer has almost all of its airframes including wing built by outside suppliers ( thats why Boeing is buying into them) so wont be interested in competing with them for a wing and other parts business.
Russia is already ahead of Bombardier -Belfast as they are doing the next step in out of autoclave for carbon fibre wings.
Boeing can make a play for this and cost Airbus one way or the other.
Airbus would not let that happen.
BBD gets money back so its qa win for them./
As Bjron noted, we don’t know how the quality control aspect are working for Russian.
It could be an equal or close to equal process like the 787 vs the A350 build (fuselage in this case).
Bombardier is using the only level they have on Airbus to get more money for the A220 they did not get when selling them A220 for $1.
This is simple business. Airbus has a winning airplane and knows that they have to protect what’s goes with it.
They will pay the extra amount to keep the pace.
Have to agree , even if bough by GK or Spirit the terms they will get will be good ones to ensure Boeing does not get it.
i know Boeing has its own problems at the moment ,but if Boeing bought Bombardier Belfast plant (SHORTS) they would be responsible for Airbus’ delivery of the C series wing and a320neo thrust reverser
The opportunity to get the tech would be a great one though.
I don’t think it will happen because I don’t think Airbus will let it but it lends BBD a huge amount of leverage.
You can bet there is a scramble by Airbus to make the wings a long term commitment and BBD can leverage that as well.
Eventual buyer will be happy camper indeed.
Ironic its in the UK
One thing for certain: At this time we’ll see how committed Airbus is to the A220. They got into it for One Dollar. Yes, I know they are investing some cash into it, but from what I’ve read, Bombardier was still on the hook for hundreds of millions of the factories’ costs. Now, we’ll see if Airbus is committed to this airframe, and wing technology, or if this was just an endeavor based on hopes of success, with little serious engineering time and money. From what Bjorn has stated, I admire Bellemare’s chutzpa / cojones.
Airbus had to know that this could be sold as it was an asset not locked in.
Certainly interesting to see how it plays out.
Airbus could buy it and resell.
I expect BBD offered Airbus a deal and the negotiations are locked up so BBD went public.
Airbus and Boeing need Paddy and Ivan to show them how to do this?I don’t think so.
That is a derogatory term for Irish so I would not repeat it .
No its not
If you hold the patents and the trade secrets then the answer is YES.
Boeing found out the expensive way with the 787 , if the carbon fibre
wing production process isnt right the waste is enormous. The specific materials and the automated machines to produce a structural assembly are very heavily protected by patents, so its not a case of beating down the price.
Want to come up with your own unique process, that will cost time and big money to have it perfected .
Airbus and Boeing arent going to reinvent the wheel when they dont have to. Look at Boeing for the 777X wing , its been an expensive process to adapt the 787 wing design and create their own production process as the 787 wings are made by another company in Japan.
The 777X was launched in in May 2012 with ATO- and yet it will be 8 years or so till bringing a modified 777 into service
This is OFF BBD Wing Topic but its huge relevance in the ongoing MAX re-certification. Long read but it explains a whole lot.
It also pushes things into the direction of other issues to be addressed, either longer term or short term.
Interesting parts from Seattle Times
“Four additional concerns specific to the 737 MAX were listed in the 2017 report. All were related to certification of legacy systems inherited from the earliest 737 models that were found by FAA technical staff to be noncompliant with the latest safety regulations.
These involved a lack of redundancy in the rudder cables; a too-high surface temperature allowed in the fuel tank; insufficient fireproofing around the plane’s auxiliary power unit in the tail; and using high-power wiring to connect to a switch inside the fuel tank.
All these issues were flagged by safety engineers working at the FAA as requiring fixes before the MAX could be certified.
The MAX won certification anyway after managers on the Boeing side of certification insisted that these were non-issues and managers on the FAA side agreed to let it move ahead with these shortcomings unaddressed.”
No wonder the overseas regulators have been scratching their heads and are maybe wondering -what other issues with the 737Max are there , so we arent going to rush into getting this plane back into the air.
And Boeing doesnt have those agencies around its little finger like they do with FAA
Fingers crossed for Boeing (and healthy OEM competition) that these 4 additionals are all of the concerns that may be uncovered. With this article and with Boeing beginning to finger point within their own organisation in their AoA press release yesterday, feels to me like we’re beginning to see the edges of where this all ends up, at least within the USA.
Jut read the whole article and it really does paint a bad picture of Boeing Commercial doesn’t it.
It will be interesting to see EASA, and the other regulators reaction to those four “concerns”. BA, and possibly the FAA will point to the safety record of the 737, and say that these are non-issues given the safety record to date.
I wonder, now that the other regulators are aware of these issues, if they will be happy to run the risk, or if they remember TWA 800, and decide that fixes are required ?
Just because an accident hasn’t yet been attributed to one of these “concerns” doesn’t mean that they’re non-issues. The more aircraft you put into the sky, they more likely you are to have that one in a million event.
Accidents are usually caused by a chain of events, as we’ve been reminded recently, if I was running BA, and was made aware of these four “concerns”, I’d fix them now while the MAX is already grounded.
Surely “using high-power wiring to connect to a switch inside the fuel tank” is just a red line that you don’t cross !
Strange Boeing statement on AoA disagree issued today (https://boeing.mediaroom.com/news-releases-statements?item=130431).
First, they identified an issue way back in 2017 but decided it “did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation”. Really? And way back in 2017 and felt a fix could wait this long? Is this normal?
Second, in referring to the “737 MAX display system software” they then refer to “the software delivered to Boeing”. Does this mean that Boeing didn’t create the 737 MAX display system software itself? Is this another instance of generous sharing with one and all?
Certainly elsewhere, in reference to the 2017 decision, the “senior compnay leadership was not involved” sounds like buck assing to the junior ranks (is that “throw then to the lions” I heard?).
I’ll have to wait for expert analyses, but the word “inadvertently “leaps out of the page, not the sort of word that instills confidence.
I suspected there would be Chinese bidders but though it would be Shenyang Aircraft Corporation possibly in an Airbus JV. Going to get interesting and political:
AVIC is Shenyang and others it’s a consortium of the major Chinese builders
Ah, that makes sense then. I wonder if that is with Airbus’s blessing.
I think what needs to happen, is the airlines that have bought the A220 need to weigh in on this. With approximate 500 orders/and 500 options (commitments of varying degrees,) these airlines have to speak up and say they could possibly want X amount of planes from this preferred supplier, or this aircraft platform is important. What are you going to do with it in the future? Quiet, gas efficient, low maintenance, less pollution. But maybe they don’t really give a hoot that much. As long as other airlines won’t use it prolifically, then it just doesn’t matter that much.
To my knowledge there are NO patents protecting processesUNLESS it is clearly visible on finished products … it is stupid to patent processes to explain how you do things to your competitors !!!
What about software patents? Business process patents?
The following link says the purchaser of the Bombardier factory in Morocco, Africa will be announced in less than three weeks. Must be hammering out the details, etc.,… This story also “Implied” that the new owner will be a “Heavy Hitter” in the aerospace industry.
It states it will be an existing BBD contractor: “In line with this, the Casablanca factory will be taken over by a sub-contractor of Bombardier”
So of the existing contractors, how many could be seen as “heavy hitters”? The industry is so intertwined that probably does not narrow it at all.
The major that has been most active in wing technology and is also a Bombardier supplier (winglets on the C/A220) is, AFAIK, GKN. They led a UK wing effort, VIEWS, mid decade into architectures, materials and tooling so makes sense to make use of that. But Spirit was also involved in that effort and GKN is now owned by the unfavourably seen Melrose.
If the cseries wing is so good and new tech.why not bolt it to the a320
If the cseries wing is so good and new tech why not bolt it to the a320
It has to be scaled up, its not just a matter of making it 20% bigger, scaling does not work that way.
Bolt on perhaps not, but the process and some of the tooling could be used. Assuming and A32x needs to fit into a C gate that means totals span less folding tips will be under 36m. The A220 has a span of 35 and the composite structures (skins and spars) are about 15m long. I doubt any main wing box for a A32x would be more than 16m. The autoclave is 20×5.6 which would indicate it could cure a 32x size wing. I would hope the automated fabric cutting table is sized to match. Fabric laying is done by hand so no tooling there. The physical plant and process expertise is in place. The product is proven and is apparently one of the least expensive ways to build a carbon fibre wing.
That means a new A32x wing would need the design, an invest in new skin and spar molds as well as the stinger forming tooling. Still, I suspect this facility could make a very compelling bid if it came to it. Of course the AB plant in Wales is likely to bid as well.
And gyrations illustrating dependence on suppliers: https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2020/07/23/spirit-aerosystems-sues-local-supplier.html
Elsewhere, the Triumph aerostructures company has been winding down 747 work and selling pieces of itself to other companies.