Many large companies outsource sub-processes to external service providers in order to be faster and at the same time cost oriented. This includes our customer, who is handing over a part of the interior modification of an Airbus A380 to our ARTS project team, thereby increasing the speed at which the order is fulfilled.
The contract covers the modernisation of the Economy Class seats including removal and reinstallation and the renewal of carpets and raceways in the floor area. For the successful implementation of the order, it was my task to put together an appropriately qualified team. Currently, our project team consists of 15 people from different professions. A promising mix of aircraft mechanics, aircraft electronics technicians, construction mechanics, metalworkers, painters and coaters, plastics processors CFRP and GFRP and even a floor layer/room designer. All those involved in the project received appropriate training prior to the start of the contract in order to meet the high requirements of the clients Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) and Qantas. The plan is for one team to be responsible for each work unit.
After several years of service to Qantas airline passengers, a general overhaul of the Airbus A380 interior is a necessity. EFW received the complete order for the modification and decided to outsource some parts of it. Our ARTS team was commissioned with the "Seat Work" sections in the upper and lower decks as well as the renewal of the carpets and cable ducts. ARTS has its own hall especially for such projects, where we can realise the orders of our customers. At present, the hall stores the converted seats and the Carpet Shop. After this major project, the hall can also be used for other projects involving the processing of larger quantities.
It's just great to be part of such a project. On the one hand, to see the sheer mass of metal and plastic of an A380 of over 500 tons rise into the air.
Our team removes the seats from the aircraft and then transports them to our workshop for further processing. Depending on the part, various work is carried out on the seats, such as changing upholstery and seat covers and repairing sockets or AC connectors. If we notice any further damage to the seat components during this work, we document these complaints in a defect report and inform the customer accordingly. The customer then decides how to proceed.
Parallel to this work, our Carpet team removes the old carpets from the A380 in the upper and lower decks. The new carpets for the upper deck are then cut to size in our Carpet Shop based on the drawings provided by the customer and then brought to the EFW factory, where our team then lays the carpets again in the A380. For the main deck in the lower area we already receive pre-fabricated kits and can lay the already cut carpets - but also here we have to make adjustments from time to time because the delivered carpets do not fit exactly. In addition to the work we carry out, we also carry out quality checks to avoid sources of error. An incorrect cut in the Carpet Shop costs a lot of time if the errors have to be repaired on site in the aircraft. So, we prefer to check once more beforehand.
The so-called raceways are the cable ducts in the floor of the aircraft. During the renewal of the carpets, these will also be removed. The new raceways will then be installed according to the technical drawings so that the aircraft cables can be laid safely and space-saving.
The most important thing about our work, apart from flexibility and the willingness to change constantly, is above all a precise way of working. If, for example, we receive our customer's technical drawings, then we need the understanding to read them correctly and then to implement them correctly so that our colleagues can continue to work trouble-free during installation in the aircraft. Another challenge for our team is time, because for all work packages a certain time frame is set. Our aim is to provide absolute quality in the shortest possible time and to work effectively. It is particularly helpful to clarify in advance with the client what the scope of work is. In order to avoid time-consuming subsequent adjustments and changes in the further course of the project, it is also advisable to talk about the client’s conception during the initial inspection of the machine for how exactly he envisages the modification. Based on the so-called Finding List, the client then determines what our team should take over.
It's just great to be part of such a project. On the one hand, to see the sheer mass of metal and plastic of an A380 of over 500 tons rise into the air and on the other hand, that you can walk upright through the engines without bumping your head. Also impressive is the amount of work that will be done on this aircraft - the size and scope of the project is almost unique. It is exciting that our competence and experience can also be transferred to other industries. In the automotive sector, in the interior modernization of buses, for example, or in the railroad sector - in other words, wherever rows of seats are modified.