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Airbus Expands RFID Part Marking Across All of Its Aircraft Families

Building on its A350 XWB deployment, the airplane manufacturer is now expanding its RFID part-marking activities to all seats and life vests for its A320, A330 and A380 aircraft.
By Mark Roberti
To highlight the scale of savings involved, Nizam outlined the benefits of the RFID process for an A330 FAL plane.

"The manual process used to take 14 hours," Nizam explained. "Now, thanks to a more automated process enabled by RFID, it takes 26 minutes. These types of benefits are also available to our airline customers, MRO and supply chain partners."

Nizam also updated the audience about the deployment progress of the A350 XWB RFID part-marking initiative. "We have received aircraft components with permanent RFID tags from our suppliers for our first two A350 XWB aircraft and successfully tested them," he said. "We are continuing to work with and support our supply chain partners to make sure all the RFID system components (tags, readers and software) are interoperable for all actors in the value chain."

Airbus has created a new, state-of-the-art set of operational processes that cover the lifecycle of the aircraft, using RFID for such as tasks as supply chain logistics, tooling management and work-in-process (WIP) management. According to Nizam, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS), Airbus' parent company, and other units within the EADS group—including Eurocopter (a helicopter manufacturer), Cassidian (EADS' defense and security division) and Astrium (a provider of satellites and other space-industry equipment)—are also building on the RFID-enabled process portfolio. For example, he said, Eurocopter is utilizing warehouse logistics and work-order tracking. "Astrium is using container tracking and tooling management," he added, "and Cassidian is looking at logistics management."

Airbus is working closely with its airline customers, as well as its supply chain and MRO partners, Nizam reported, in order to answer questions, share its experiences and provide early-adopter support. "The more airlines, MROs and suppliers benefit from this," he said, "the better it is for the industry as a whole, because this is all about improving processes and killing waste."

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