Aluminium and Titanium investment casting leader TITAL GmbH was recently qualified by Airbus France for the assembly of Titanium castings.TITAL has earned the position of a strategic supplier and will be gradually qualified for further component processing. The reason for the change in the procurement strategy is that Airbus wants to focus more on its core competences, aircraft development and manufacturing. Smaller assemblies will be purchased as an assembly. The preparation and documentation for the certification took several months and includes approvals for the Airbus military carrier A400M as well as for the single aisle passenger planes the A318, A319, A320 and A321.
In the past TITAL always produced the raw casting that had to be delivered and, if necessary, machined its functional surfaces. Airbus Key-Account-Manager Thomas Stephan explains: "Today, after the certification, we are allowed to attach rivet nuts, thread inserts and helicoils, to our castings." One example is the rib 7 for the pylons (connection between the engine and the wing) of the single aisle family. A steel plate (70 x 20 x 3 mm) is riveted to the rib with a dimension of 300 x 300 mm and a depth of 10 mm. The required stainless steel rivets are purchased by TITAL in compliance with the strict aeronautical quality requirements.
Another example: For the A400M pylon 12 different Titanium brackets called pin latch fittings were cast and shipped. Today, these are now cast and assembled complete in Bestwig including threads and helicoils. The washer included in the assembly is also produced by TITAL. This also includes all necessary documentation. In addition, a Titanium plate which is equipped with a newly developed ball and socket joint is bought and finished by TITAL. In summary, TITAL mounts the whole assembly for the A400M pylon and delivers this assembly-ready component to Airbus France.
TITAL GmbH originally applied for this "Ready-for-Assembly concept" three years ago and succeeded against its competitors due to the more attractive concept. Only a few employees of Airbus France can carry out the certification of the suppliers. "The certification instructions are very detailed and must be issued in several languages with no room for interpretation", explains Thomas Stephan. The compilation of the documentation took several months and was exceptionally thorough which required the hiring of a new employee to manage the process.
TITAL joins the exclusive group of strategically important Airbus suppliers. The basis for this strategic partnership is the proven technical qualification of TITAL, a long-term business relationship and a great mutual trust. From TITAL's point of view this new improved supplier status means an additional protection of the long-term business relationship with Airbus. The advantage for Airbus: complex, labour-intensive work is transferred to the supplier for improved cost savings.
Besides the certifications of Airbus France, TITAL is already working on additional approvals from Airbus Germany. Philipp Jerusalem, Director Sales and Marketing at TITAL: "We send our people directly to the Airbus plants. Airbus is also investing time and know-how in order to bring our people up to date on the required qualification level. For this task, Airbus is even providing their training workshops." After having passed the assessment these employees will be allowed to carry out all assembly work on investment castings for Airbus aircrafts.