Bigger is beautifuller. The Beluga used to be one of a kind. Now there are two. The Beluga XL is AIRBUS’ all-new super-super transporter. And our automation added something towards its realisation.
The AIRBUS Beluga, an oversized special cargo version of the A300-600 airliner that rose to global fame because of its iconic, whale-like shape, was already a super transporter, literally, and in terms of size and performance. But with a 25-year operation certificate expiring at some point in the foreseeable future, and corporations always looking into ways of increasing efficiency, the aerospace giant started thinking even bigger.
The idea for a new super-super transporter, the AIRBUS Beluga XL was born. And in 2014, the decision to create a new fleet by modifying their own A330 was made.
However, the project hit a snag towards the end of 2015. Common production techniques proved to be economically unsustainable and the project was frozen to allow for a re-think. Eventually, the conclusion was reached, that a more pragmatic approach towards design and manufacturing was required to get the Beluga XL up in the air.
In cooperation with our partners Deharde, we successfully pitched new ideas and the Airbus Beluga XL program then rewarded us with the opportunity to prove the efficiency of automated design and take the virtual product from engineering to manufacturing.
Our service range comprising fully automated 3D modelling and production annotations, stress calculations and feedbacks, weight analysis, clash detection and design changes, not only ensured digital continuity, but saved the usual costs for the creation of WO (work orders), NC (numeric control) programming and FAI support (first article inspection). And Deharde and umlaut succeeded in contributing the entire upper fuselage towards the all-new Beluga XL, helping a new icon in aviation take to the skies.