As an essential prerequisite for the approval of the Airbus A350 XWB, the IABG Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH has carried out an extensive range of tests on the new wide-bodied aircraft at its testing facility in Erding. With the scaffolding solution from PERI, optimal adaptation of the working levels for the fuselage and wings was achieved. The modularity and flexibility of the PERI UP system has allowed test preparations and continuous measurement and inspection work to be implemented.
Although the maiden flight of the new long-haul Airbus A350 XWB (eXtra Wide Body) with its 65 m wingspan took place in June 2013, numerous tests still have to carried out until the commencement of normal flight operations. Before a new aircraft type can enter series production, it has to undergo and pass a wide range of different tests.
These qualification measures also include the simulation of a complete aircraft service life. With the EF-2 airframe fatigue test, 88 servo-hydraulic cylinders are used for systematic application of stress to the rear fuselage section along with both wings – a simulation representing a total of 86,400 flights that is three times the intended service life. Using a so-called EW test which is carried out in parallel, stress is also applied to a test wing by means of 41 cylinders – in addition to the fatigue loads, a systematic application of stress is realized through to the analytical breaking load.
Due to the modular design and flexible use, the PERI UP Rosett Flex working scaffold allows unrestricted access to the test items. Optimally adapted to match the fuselage and wing configurations, the fatigue tests are accompanied by regular measurement and inspection cycles carried out from the various working levels. In addition to having a reduced surface weight, a high level of adaptability of the scaffold structure in particular was required: on the one hand, through the realization of different platform levels at heights between 7.00 m and 10.50 m; on the other, the modification of the load-bearing steel structure and the 88 inclined-arranged hydraulic cylinders. For bridging the wings, the PERI UP was suspended on RCS climbing rails as well as other system components of the VARIOKIT engineering construction kit.
With the help of PERI CAD, the scaffold solution was planned and visualised resulting in a clearly arranged and detailed 3D format. Consequently, the 2.00 m x 1.50 m basic grid was determined at a very early stage. Through this procedure, any obstructions could be identified and minimized well in advance. At the same time, PERI engineers achieved an optimal adjustment of the working levels required for the fuselage and wings – whilst taking into account the steel and hydraulic constructions as well as ensuring that all access points were kept clear.
The detailed concept developed by the PERI scaffolding specialists featured a 2.5 kN/m² live load and was agreed on very early on with the users and scaffold erection team. In particular, the metric grid of the PERI UP Rosett Flex was a great advantage for all adjustment areas: this meant that all modifications could be realized with system components – without time-consuming tube and coupler assembly. Furthermore, the access technology with 1 m wide flights of stairs was perfectly integrated in the PERI UP scaffold solution and metric system grid.
The aircraft structural tests on twin-engine wide-bodied Airbus A350 are taking place in a specially built test hall on the Erding military airfield. Length and width of the hall is 71 m with a height reaching almost 30 m. The complete test equipment, including the infrastructure, is modular and mobile – and can therefore by flexibly used.