Commercial, Products

Safran’s Fully Automated Production Line for Turbine Blades Now in Service

By S.L. Fuller | December 1, 2016
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Safran's Automated Production Line

Photo courtesy of Safran Helicopter Engines

Safran Helicopter Engines’ turbine blade automated production line in Bordes, France, is fully operational, the company said. The production line is set to manufacture every turbine blade Safran uses and should reduce blade production time by 50%.

A part of Safran’s “Factory of the Future” strategy, this is the first and only automated production line the company has. The development process for the 900-square-meter line started in 2012. It features multiple robots and automated cells, capable of milling, polishing, etching, 3-D control and surface finishing. From raw materials to assembly-ready, the entire process could be fully automated and is capable of producing more than 100,000 airfoils per year. Operators have been locally trained on the technology.

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The "Factory of the Future" strategy began in 2010 with the opening of the Joseph Szydlowski plant in Bordes. The opening of the Mantes-Buchelay plant followed the next year. Also a part of the strategy is the "Cap 2020" Tarnos modernization program and the 2015 introduction of serial-produced 3-D-printed parts. Safran plans to add more automated production lines to its other facilities by 2020.

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