Airbus to Add Robotic Assembly Line at Satellite Plant

Airbus will begin building an Industry 4.0 factory this month to automate and digitalize the production of solar arrays for satellites, an initiative that involves a complete revamp and expansion of the production building in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen. A robotic assembly line will be introduced.

Airbus has disclosed its plans for expanding the capacity of a plant in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen, near Munich, announcing Feb. 11 that it has reached two new milestones -- Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, gave the green light for the modernization of solar array production for satellites and for the commissioning of expanded cleanrooms for optical satellite instruments. The company will invest approximately €25 million on these.

The company's news release says that in February 2019, Airbus will begin building an Industry 4.0 factory to automate and digitalize the production of solar arrays for satellites, an initiative that involves a complete revamp and expansion of the production building. A robotic assembly line will be introduced, with Airbus saying this €15 million investment "demonstrates the company's ability to remain competitive on the world market, while the automated assembly line will allow throughput times and costs to be halved."

Research work to be supported by this facility includes work on scientific satellites, such as a Jupiter mission or missions to the sun or Mercury.

Airbus will use the enlarged cleanroom for integrating satellite-based optical instruments.

"The aerospace site in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen has not only shaped the history of cutting-edge technology over the last 60 years, it is also actively shaping the future. Today, our solar array production marks our entry into the age of Industry 4.0, with the site now boasting the largest cleanroom for optical satellite integration in Germany. This will improve our competitive standing worldwide and will contribute towards safeguarding local jobs,” Hoke said.

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