FACC - When the Skis Learned to Fly

Feb. 20, 2019
This Austrian aviation giant has solid roots in composites

FACC was founded in the 1980s, and has constantly worked with fiber composite materials. You can say it’s in its DNA. FACC has grown over time vigorously and counts today more than 3,500 employees from 38 nations, working in sites in Austria, United States, and China and having branches and subsidiaries in 13 countries around the globe.

Headquartered in Ried/Innkreis in Austria, close to the German border where five plants are located close by. The company has become one of the global leaders in the manufacture of lightweight aerospace components, achieving in FY 2017/18 the best result in its history. FACC core competences are: aerostructures, engines and nacelles, cabin interiors and recently added aftermarket services - MRO.

History and Background

FACC has a history of constant growth from its beginning. Initially it was home in other industries, but it continued the road to the success in the air. While much may have changed since its humble beginnings, its pioneering spirit lives on, being crowned by the opening of the technology center in St. Martin, Austria in 2013 worth almost 100 Million Euro. With passion and expertise, FACC is shaping the mobility of the future using the materials of tomorrow.

FACC origins are in Austrian ski production with Fisher Ski. It started exploring fiber composite technology for skis becoming a market leader and synonym for quality in the ski-circuits. Fischer Ski advanced composite technology was adapted to aviation structures and first contracts were closed in 1987 with McDonnell Douglas (MD11) and Boeing, and in 1989 with Airbus.

In 1999, FACC AG was established (Fisher Advanced Composite Components). Shortly after this, in 2000 the activities in the aviation world multiplied as FACC has become supply chain manager for Rolls-Royce, Airbus tier-1 supplier for Airbus A380 and Boeing development and manufacturing partner for Boeing 787 in 2002/2003, followed by first Embraer contract in 2007.

The year 2009 was another milestone where the company changed into Chinese hands owned by AVIC. First Sukhoi contract came in 2010 as the tier-1 supplier for COMAC C919, in 2011 first Dassault Aviation contract was inked and the first wing-box was delivered.

In 2014 FACC experienced the stock market launch which reinforced the company's equity.

In 2016 the 7,500th winglet shipset was delivered to Aviation Partners.

In 2018 FACC was listed on the ATX, the Vienna Stock Exchange and has $6.5 billon US backlog.

Urban Air Mobility

FACC has written a new page of its history. By the end of November 2017, FACC has entered into a strategic partnership with EHang, one of the world's most promising autonomous air mobility companies. In a joint effort, the Chinese technology company and FACC will optimize the Autonomous Air Vehicles (AAV) and make them ready for series production of the EHANG 184. According to FACC, solutions for the individual air mobility of the future will be jointly developed, and research will be conducted on new technologies for AAV.

Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC. "As a technology partner of the global aerospace industry, FACC has a broad spectrum of systems expertise ranging from research, design, development, certification and global production to the maintenance of high-tech products for aircraft. This enables us to be fully equipped and dedicated when it comes to implementing safe and highly efficient lightweight solutions for individual air mobility around smart cities. In this respect, the partnership with EHang takes us a big step forward."

Customers and Growth

By mid-May FACC AG was able to confirm its long-term growth trend in the 2017/18 financial year and achieved the best results in the company’s history spanning nearly 30 years.

FACC customers include Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, Comac, UTC Aerospace Systems, Engine Alliance, Rolls-Royce, Diehl, Safran, Pratt & Whitney, Airbus Helicopters, Dassault, Sukhoi, Hawker Beechcraft (Textron), Aviation Partners, Gulfstream, and Leonardo.

The main drivers of product sales in the 2017/18 financial year were the programs for the Airbus A320 Family, Airbus A350 XWB, Boeing 787 as well as the Bombardier and Embraer Business Jets. All programs contributed to the Group's growth.

FACC Aerospace Solutions    

Aerostructures produces lightweight components for wings, tail assemblies and fuselages and have been FACC core competency from the beginning. FACC partners with others in developing, qualifying, certifying, and manufacturing both primary and secondary aircraft structures. FACC is as a system integrator, supplying ready-to-install turnkey solutions. In FACC words: 'Perfection Through Passion'. Thanks to new composite solutions, FACC creates components of complex geometries what helps to reduce their numbers, weight, and ecologically friendlier. Manufacturing includes:

Flight control surfaces like ailerons, elevators, flaps, rudders, spoilers, and airbrakes - all the components required to steer aircraft. For modern aircraft, these surfaces are made of fiber composite materials to withstand the high loads, and at the same time keeping component weight to a minimum.

Fairings like leading edge panels, pylon, flap track, and wing-to-body fairings used to protect underlying structures and systems from adverse external environmental factors as they also significantly contribute to the aircraft aerodynamics.

Wing components of various types ranging from simple sandwich panels to more complex structures like access doors, panels, flap ribs, ram-air inlets, wing boxes, and wing panels.

Engine and Nacelle products at FACC have been designed for high-end performance and extreme stress. The result of those efforts are components setting new standards with regard to noise emission, weight reduction, and efficiency in cold air stream conditions as well as fairings thanks to special manufacturing technologies. Thanks to the state-of-the-art design and high-tech materials, aerodynamic properties are improved and also reduce engine noise by 60 percent. "Quieter, lighter and more efficient" calls FACC of their components.

Cabin Interiors components designed and manufactured by FACC include ceiling, floor and sidewall panels, entrance and service areas, galleys, baggage compartments, wardrobes, lavatories, oxygen supply, and also all technical components such as speakers, ventilation, air-ducts, and lighting. FACC has become one of the most important players in the global aircraft interior market. The factory in Austria manufactures on separate lines interior components for commercial aircraft and business/private jets. Cabin interiors are also manufactured for freighter aircraft or for passenger aircraft conversion and even for helicopters.  

Aftermarket Services is company’s "youngest kid" where FACC is recently focusing on and is intensifying its maintenance activities. Christian Mundigler, VP of FACC Aftermarket Services, states, "We will, and we are able to repair all the components we manufacture." This aftermarket repair mission is guided by three values: agility, simplicity, and flexibility.

FACC offers to its customers all the standard maintenance and repair services and is qualified to provide design services for repairs and modifications. These include structures as well as engines and interiors.

Maintenance Services - MRO

FACC is FAA, TCCA, and EASA approved for component repair. This means manufacturer quality, minimal on-the-ground times, and low prices. Its teams of experts can be found at its specialized repair facilities in Wichita (U.S.), Montreal (Canada), and Ried (Austria).

Sharklets and Winglets

Since the start-up of its component repair station in 2014, FACC Solutions Inc. (FSI), located in Wichita Kansas, has completed more than 2,000 737NG and 757 winglet modifications and repairs. FSI has successfully repaired 767 Blended Winglet, and is currently developing the capability to perform larger composite repairs. If a Sharklet becomes damaged a quick and competent repair could be performed by FACC.

Design Service

As an EASA Part 21J approved design organization, FACC partners with OEMs, CAMOS, and maintenance stations offering design, strength, and fatigue analysis, fire and full scale tests, material qualification, and certification of composite materials.

Center Ceiling Stowage+ 

This smart CSS+ solution was created by Lufthansa Technik and FACC and allows the CSS+ module to use the space available in the center ceiling area to store these items. It accommodates almost twice the load (196 percent more) than its predecessor making it suitable for heavier objects, such as life rafts and can be installed at diverse positions in the aircraft.

Passenger Luggage Space Upgrade 

FACC has developed new retrofit doors for classic cabin interior on A318, A319, A320, and A321 (other aircraft on request).These doors increase the overhead baggage capacity 67 percent as new shaped doors allow five instead of three roller bags per four frame overhead luggage bin. This fast and easy retrofit can be performed overnight in seven to nine hours.

From skis to aircraft parts. Thanks to stable long-term demand, FACC will continue to pursue the sales target of EUR 1 billion by the end of the 2020/21 financial year. In the coming years, the company expects to gradually increase the production rates of its most important programs and profit from the general growth trend currently underway in almost all aircraft families.

For more information visit www.facc.com.