Bombardier Aerospace has borrowed several ideas from the auto industry that it hopes will help streamline production of the new CSeries regional jetliner. The company’s goal is to capture up to half of its forecasted market demand for 6,700 aircraft in the 100- to 149-seat commercial aircraft market segment.

“We’re adopting and adapting lean, flexible, safe and ergonomically advanced solutions to ensure that the manufacturing process for the CSeries aircraft is fully optimized,” says Francois Minville, vice president of CSeries manufacturing.

“We’re borrowing several ideas from the auto industry, such as overhead andon boards and a supplier satellite area,” says Minville. “Also, some components, such as wings, engines and the rear fuselage, will be moved around that plant using automated guided vehicles.

Another idea borrowed from the auto industry is a moving assembly line. A moving production line is being introduced at Bombardier’s St-Laurent Manufacturing Centre, where major components of the CSeries aircraft, such as the cockpit and aft fuselage, are being produced. In addition, a moving final assembly line is planned for the Mirabel, QC, plant.

“Compared to many other industries, aircraft manufacturing has traditionally been characterized as a low-volume, long cycle time industry,” says Minville. “The introduction of a moving final assembly line creates a dynamic environment that improves production efficiency.

To reduce the cycle time required to assemble a larger and more complex airliner, Bombardier also is introducing advanced processes to ensure that high quality parts are received at the plant on time.

“We are enhancing our quality culture at Bombardier to support the production of the CSeries aircraft,” says Minville. “Through the sharing of knowledge and best practices, we are building on our experience with aircraft programs that involve risk-sharing suppliers and are refining our processes.”

Advanced quality planning (AQP) and advanced logistics planning (ALP) processes are being implemented to identify potential areas of risk in manufacturing, systems integration and supply chain logistics on the CSeries aircraft program. “The introduction of AQP and ALP highlights Bombardier’s embrace of preventive quality tools, such as process control plans, mitigation approach plans, and failure mode effects analysis, commonly employed in the automotive industry,” says Minville.