Airbus and Boeing have adopted similar methods of pre-equipping large modules in the 787 and the A350 to reduce lead time and recurring costs.
“Lead time has been reduced by 80% on the floor grid in the nose above the avionics bay. Before, it was impossible to produce as a module so we started to go into the architecture. As a result, we developed a secondary structure we can pre-equip,” says Gralfs, Airbus VP of overall physical design, who adds that the integration of the unit lies on the critical path.
All of the A350’s metal parts — including aluminum seat rails and a mix of aluminum, aluminum/lithium alloy and titanium for lower frames and passenger cabin structural floor grid beams — do double duty. Each part has a structural function, and it also forms part of the overall electrical structure network (ESN) within the aircraft.