The first pillar of FACC’s strategy primarily defines the goal of optimizing the company’s existing business and expanding its business with existing customers.
As a long-standing and reliable manufacturing and development partner of major aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer and COMAC as well as engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, FACC not only boasts high-quality products, but also excellent customer relations. This has once again been confirmed by the projects that FACC started or implemented together with its customers in the 2022 financial year. Moreover, a number of new orders are in the pipeline for 2023. The intermediate goals in this strategic field include ongoing optimization and efficiency improvements as well as insourcing and an increase in vertical integration, an expansion of the production footprint and ongoing innovation. The following examples illustrate the great progress FACC is making in many fields.
Tail unit components for Airbus
FACC has been supplying Airbus with aircraft components for many years. In 2021, the company received another major order from the European aircraft manufacturer for the production of tail unit components for aircraft of the A220 family. After a successful development phase, production was launched in 2021 with the first component delivery in 2022. As of the 2025 financial year, the A220 will be the second most important aircraft platform in FACC’s portfolio, after the A320 family, based on the production rates known today.
Major order from Rolls-Royce
FACC was awarded a new order by engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce at the beginning of 2022 for the development and production of components for the new Pearl 10X engine, which will be used in large business jets. FACC will be supplying the bypass ducts, including maintenance doors, the fan track liners, the engine tip and the cable bushing. FACC and Rolls-Royce have been collaborating successfully for more than 20 years – this was certainly no disadvantage for FACC in the tendering process for the new project.
Cabin interior for new Bombardier jet
With its new Challenger 3500 super mid-size business jet, Canadian manufacturer Bombardier is placing a stronger focus on sustainability. This includes the verification of the ecological footprint of an aircraft during its entire life cycle. Here, FACC presented itself as the ideal development and manufacturing partner, not least due to its extensive know-how in this field of application. FACC will be supplying most of the cabin for the new Bombardier jet, ranging from the cabin lining to the cloakroom, galley, cabinets, tables, baggage compartments, partition walls, wiring and sanitary facilities. Each cabin is made-tomeasure, with components varnished, veneered or clad in leather according to the customer’s wishes. They are then delivered, ready for assembly, to Bombardier’s end line in Montreal, Canada.
COMAC C919 ready for takeoff
FACC has been a technology partner of the Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC since 2004. At the end of September 2022, the C919 medium-haul aircraft received type certification for the Chinese market from the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority. FACC was significantly involved in the development of the new aircraft, which can transport up to 192 passengers, with its lightweight construction know-how. Currently, FACC is supplying the passenger cabin, the cockpit linings, the entrance and rear service areas as well as winglets and spoilers for the twin-engine jet. The first C919 was delivered to China Eastern Airlines in early December. Meanwhile, COMAC’s order books are well filled: approximately 1,100 aircraft are to be delivered over the next few years.
New credit line strengthens growth course
At the beginning of 2023, FACC reached an agreement with five Austrian banks on the extension of a syndicated loan of EUR 225 million. A term of three years was agreed, with a twoyear extension option. FACC intends to use these funds primarily to further expand its global footprint, with a part to be invested in future projects in the areas of Urban Air Mobility and Space.
Each year, FACC honors particularly innovative achievements of its employees with the Leonardo Award. In 2022, first place went to a project team that had succeeded in significantly increasing FACC’s vertical integration, thus making the company less dependent on global influences. Within a very short time, the team had successfully established the in-house production of aluminum components. Before that, FACC had sourced metallic components exclusively from suppliers. Now, the company is less dependent on global supply chains and price developments. The production line for lightweight metal components installed by the winning team is based on Industry 4.0 and is largely automated. For FACC, the new facility is not only economically attractive, but also represents a key strategic advancement.
3D printing for the DASSAULT Falcon
Starting in mid-2023, FACC will for the first time be supplying winglets featuring a 3D-printed aluminum component. Until now, this component was produced by intensive machining and soldering of two individual parts. The new process enables production with even less weight. In order to make the new aluminum component ready for use in the winglets of DASSAULT’s Falcon 10F business jet, FACC’s Materials & Process Engineering team conducted extensive preliminary work, which was completed in 2022 with the submission of the process specifications to the manufacturing partner. With this new process, FACC is once again strengthening its position with regard to the development and production of fuel-saving winglets.
Efficiency through automation
Whether laminate, lacquer, film, textile or leather – depending on the area of application, FACC finishes its products with various surfaces. Until now, surface finishing was frequently carried out by hand. In order to automate this production step and thus make it more efficient, FACC is focusing its research in 2023 on so-called off-tool surface finishing. The goal is to provide the components with the desired surface in the press or the corresponding tool. The complex research is still in its infancy, but initial trials prove promising.
Barrier-free lavatory system
To enable passengers with reduced mobility ease of use of the on-board lavatory, aircraft manufacturers and suppliers have long been working on concepts for space-saving lavatories. This is all the more significant as airlines are increasingly using narrow-body aircraft on long and medium- haul routes. More space in the lavatory usually translates into less space in the passenger cabin or galley. And it is precisely this tradeoff that many airlines shy away from for economic reasons. In 2020, FACC introduced LAV4ALL, a novel lavatory system that could soon make this compromise a thing of the past: the concept offers significantly more freedom of movement inside with the same external dimensions as a conventional aircraft lavatory. This is complemented by a seamless design, hygienic surfaces and complete accessibility.
Wing of Tomorrow
FACC began working on the development of the next-generation aircraft wing together with Airbus as part of the Wing of Tomorrow project in 2018. The focus of the research project was on manufacturing techniques enabling faster and more cost-efficient production of wings and wing components. The project was successfully completed in 2022. The newly developed manufacturing method based on thermoplastic welding technology could be market-ready by 2024; the respective facilities are ready for operation at FACC. However, numerous processes still have to be refined and approval tests completed before the first flap for the next-generation wing can leave the FACC production line. The cooperation project nevertheless gives FACC an important technological head start on the road to the future.
Growth through innovation
The Aftermarket Services division, which was newly established in 2018, is currently on a steep growth path, which FACC intends to continue in the years ahead. Aftermarket Services deals with the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft. In addition to a global service network – the latest addition being a new location in Florida in 2021 – FACC also offers its customers attractive upgrades based on innovative developments. The most recent focus of FACC Aftermarket Services has been on business jets. However, the division is also heavily involved in wide-body aircraft, for instance with overhead stowage systems that offer up to 200 percent additional capacity compared to conventional solutions. On this basis, FACC Aftermarket Services aims to grow in two directions: with new products for existing customers, and with existing products for new customers.