In the long term, FACC wishes to achieve a more diversified market position with a third strategic pillar.
The Group is participating in the development of forms of mobility and logistics solutions of the future. This applies in particular to the area of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), where FACC sees great potential for growth. The development of autonomously flying passenger drones and other electrically powered short-haul aircraft is advancing rapidly worldwide. FACC is currently working on several UAM projects. Most recently, the Group has also gained a foothold in the growing Space market segment, and is collaborating with the European Space Agency ESA on the construction of the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle. With Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and Space, FACC has expanded its range of services to a total of five divisions. This diversification of its market presence marks an important step for FACC towards long-term independence and stability.
New UAM contract awarded by the U.S.
The California-based company Archer is developing an electrically powered passenger drone for urban air transport (UAM). The first model, with certification planned for 2024, is designed to transport people within cities or on other very short routes in a comfortable, safe and environmentally friendly manner. In July 2022, Archer commissioned FACC with the manufacture of key fuselage and wing elements for the electrically powered, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The development of high-rate products for the UAM market centers on the use of new materials and processes. FACC has been asserting itself very successfully in this new segment for years thanks to its innovative strength, both with existing and new customers. After the long-standing cooperation with EHang, this contract with Archer marks a further important step in the market for Urban Air Mobility.
Key component for launch vehicle
FACC has been developing a key component for the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle on behalf of the European Space Agency ESA since the end of 2021. The so-called kick-stage main structure of the rocket must be as light as possible while being able to withstand the highest loads: in addition to the actual cargo of the rocket, the module also carries four fuel tanks, the engine and the avionics. With this first Space contract, FACC is able to showcase its technological and manufacturing expertise to the full.
Closing the circle: holistic design and manufacturing concepts for drone production
With its entry into the drone market, FACC is positioning itself as a front runner in the Urban Air Mobility segment together with its newly acquired customers and partners. FACC puts the revenue potential of this market segment from 2030 onwards at more than USD 30 billion. Compared to the standard production rates in aviation, much higher unit numbers are required for drones, including both taxi drones for short-distance passenger transport and logistics drones. In order to successfully serve this market, FACC has developed holistic product and manufacturing concepts, optimally coordinating product designs, the materials used as well as digital and automated manufacturing processes. By implementing these approaches, FACC has developed novel production processes that are both suitable for aviation and amenable to high construction rates. Over the next two years, FACC will qualify these processes and apply them in the production of its drone projects. In a further step, FACC intends to transfer the experience gained from this development process to its core business. This closes the circle: FACC will initially apply its 30 years of experience in lightweight construction to the development of drone projects. In a second stage, the new and innovative drone concepts will be integrated back into the company’s core business.