Quantum technological leap: MT Aerospace officially opening state-of-the-art facilities for Ariane 6 production in Augsburg

Aviation and space technology company MT Aerospace AG, a subsidiary of the technology group OHB SE, has today officially opened the new production facilities for the Ariane 6 at its Augsburg site in a ceremony attended by numerous honorary guests. MT Aerospace has built a new hall in Augsburg with a floor area of around 2500 square meters, retooled a further production hall and digitized its entire development and production operations with the financial support of the European Space Agency ESA. State-of-the-art welding systems, machine-to-machine communications as well as modernized drilling and riveting robots ensure more efficient and cheaper production processes.

“With our leap into the Industry 4.0 era, we are tripling our productivity and playing a material role in driving forward technological innovations and the competitiveness of the future Ariane 6 launch vehicle,” MT Aerospace CEO Hans J. Steininger said in his welcome speech. The ceremony was also attended by the Bavarian State Minister of Economics, Energy and Technology, Franz Josef Pschierer, who in his speech said: “Bavaria is a premium location for the space industry. MT Aerospace is impressively demonstrating that with its adoption of Industry 4.0 practices and its focus on digitization it will remain competitive in the future, generating growth and preserving jobs. In this way, it is making a key contribution to strengthening Bavaria’s role as one of the leading European high-tech research and production centers. Our “Bavaria One” space program will be setting new accents as space is a key technology for the state. As it is, the space industry employs 27,000 people in Bavaria.”

Said Marco R. Fuchs, CEO of OHB SE: “The global launcher market is highly competitive. This makes it all the more important for us to join forces with the space agencies and industrial partners to make sure that the Ariane 6 program is a success.”

With an industrial contribution of a good 10 percent, MT Aerospace is playing a crucial role in the development and industrialization of the Ariane 6 launcher system. At the heart of the productivity gains and this quantum technological leap is the large FSW system. FSW is short for “friction stir welding”. Installed at the beginning of 2018, the system for welding light metals is one of a kind anywhere in the world. The new process permits efficient light-weight engineering, permitting considerable weight savings, something which is a crucial factor in aviation and aerospace engineering.

Moreover, the FSW system documents the processes and also performs ultrasonic testing of the components. By the time the parts leave the system, they are finished and tested. “We are indeed seeing a technological advance on a scale of 20 or more years. We have not only invested in the Ariane program but also to a material degree in an innovative future for MT Aerospace, which will safeguard jobs and the Company’s future,” Steininger said in conclusion.

MT Aerospace has delivered the first hydrogen tank for the Ariane 6 upper stage to the ArianeGroup. © MT Aerospace AG
MT Aerospace has delivered the first hydrogen tank for the Ariane 6 upper stage to the ArianeGroup. © MT Aerospace AG

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