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80T Handling of Airbus wings

The Airbus factory in Broughton, UK manufactures wings for airplanes and now, the wings for the world’s largest passenger plane, Airbus A380. The wings measure 40 metres and are the largest wings ever for any civil aircraft.


The “raft” contains eight Solving air bearing modules, two electrical drives, and an optical guidance system. The optical guidance system ensures that extreme accuracy is maintained and a manual override is available if the raft needs to be moved to other areas. The Mover is both remote controlled and equipped with IR–guidance that follows a painted line on the floor.


A single operator is able to manoeuvre the wings “sideways” from the assembly area through inspection and into the paint plant with extreme accuracy and safety. If required, it is possible to drive or rotate the Mover in any direction. A control centre receives instructions via a radio control console from the operator and three radio-controlled e-stops are held by lookouts, stationed at each end of the wing. 


The air film-based Mover contributes with low floor loadings since the load is evenly spread over large air bearings – the combined weight of the raft and the wing is around 80 tonnes. The Mover is easy to operate, quiet and user-friendly. It requires little maintenance and provides Airbus with a solid and stable measuring raft.