Bombardier Improves Assembly Flexibility Thanks to Manufacturing Operations Management Software
It is rare for CEOs of competing airlines to be passengers on the same flight. But, that’s exactly what happened June 3, 2016, on SWISS Airlines’ flight BBA505, from Dublin to Zurich. The reason? All of these individuals wanted to be part of the last test flight of the CS100, Bombardier Aerospace’s new medium-range jetliner. On July 15, the 133-passenger plane made its first commercial flight, from Zurich to Paris.
The flight came 11 years after Bombardier began a feasibility study for a new narrow-body (five seats abreast), twin-engine jetliner—and eight years since the company announced that a major airline (Lufthansa) was interested in purchasing several (60) of the aircraft. Assembly of the CS100 began in 2012, and its first test flight took place on Sept. 16, 2013.
Planes are assembled at manufacturing facilities in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Canada. The CS100’s composite wings and a section of its fuselage are assembled at the Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services (BAES) manufacturing facility in Belfast.
Workers assemble the aft fuselage and cockpit at the BAES Manufacturing Centre in Saint-Laurent, Quebec. Final assembly is done at the Mirabel (Montreal suburb) facility, where two pairs of robots drill holes, apply sealant and install fasteners to join the major sections of the fuselage. The Mirabel and St-Laurent plants feature a moving production line.
From day one of assembly, Bombardier has used FlexNet manufacturing operations management (MOM) software to increase assembly flexibility within its dynamic manufacturing model. Made by DELMIA Apriso Corp. (a Dassault Systèmes company), the software lets managers track complex production, quality, maintenance and material-synchronization processes across multiple plants.
Unlike manufacturing execution system (MES) software, which is used primarily to collect real-time machinery data for continuous improvement at one plant, MOM software provides this data to managers from a network of sites, along with ways to solve problems on the assembly lines as they’re running.
FlexNet MOM is integrated into Bombardier’s existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems to fully link the plants’ administrative, design, manufacturing, warehouse and resource-management operations. According to Colin Stewart, IT director for MES at Bombardier, the software enables plant managers to quickly change production practices, improve assembly quality and lower costs.
In addition, the managers can coordinate information flow to achieve tighter control over disparate operational
processes; implement lean or Six Sigma initiatives; and make better-informed decisions related to advanced planning, production-capacity analysis, inventory and standard lead times. FlexNet also enables paperless manufacturing by providing electronic work instructions and error-proofing.
“Bombardier has steadily added functionality to the FlexNet footprint, demonstrating the value of a platform-based solution,” notes Rick Gallisa, DELMIA Apriso industry director at Dassault. “[The company’s] three-platform IT strategy ensures sufficient collaboration to remain current and viable in the highly competitive aerospace manufacturing industry.”
DELMIA Apriso serves nearly 200 customers in more than 40 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
For more information on MOM software, call 877-246-9393 or visit