Airbus Helicopters Canada

Improving Productivity of Composite Material Trimming Work Station Through Automated Solution


Manufacturing and Productivity Improvement


Fort Erie-based Airbus Helicopters Canada was seeking guidance and partnership to improve the productivity of a trimming and drilling workstation. The composite and metallic manufacturing business line identified this workstation as a primary bottleneck within the manufacturing process, and an area that needed to reduce its scrap rate. Overall, the goal of the project was to create an improved composite materials trimming and routing station by reducing scrappage and improving its overall rate of production.


The research team used time-study data to identify wasted employee hours related to time spent looking for tools, then built a mobile racking station with tooling fixtures for all tools used. The data was also used to study ideal trimming and drilling times, and create more accurate standard operating procedures. It also led to creating more competitive and accurate quotes. The largest output from this project was the recommendation to purchase an automated machine from a local vendor (I-cubed in Stoney Creek) to assist in composite materials cutting and drilling. By introducing automated equipment, the work cell will generate higher profit margins and increase product quality.