KUKA to help build helicopters

  • July 11, 2012
  • KUKA Systems Corp. North America
  • News

July 11, 2012–Bell Helicopters named KUKA Systems as its supplier partner for developing the manufacturing line for the new Bell 525 Relentless super medium-class commercial helicopter. “The production line will assemble the entire airframe - from ‘nose cone to tail cone’,” says Robert Reno, Group Vice President, Aerospace Division, KUKA Systems Corporation North America.

“We’re honored Bell has chosen us as a partner for this category-defining project. In future, the industry will regard this assembly line as a world class, technical manufacturing solution,” says Lawrence A. Drake, CEO of KUKA Systems Group. “It also demonstrates how KUKA Systems is coming on strong as the aerospace industry’s premier supplier of advanced production concepts. This project leverages our world-leading expertise in building partly or fully automated assembly lines for automotive, aerospace and other industries with our specialized knowledge of aerospace manufacturing.”
“Design and engineering work is under way for the Bell 525 Relentless production line. “When the design is finalized and all tooling and processes are confirmed the Bell 525 should become the second largest line KUKA Systems has built in the North American aerospace sector”, says Reno. The largest is the Integrated Assembly Line being built for Northrop Grumman Corporation to construct the fuselage of the F35-II joint strike fighter program. The success of that project already has earned KUKA Systems Supplier of the Year honors from Northrop Grumman.
The Bell 525 Relentless will be a hybrid of composite material and metal, requiring different processes and tooling. The line is scheduled for setup in Bell’s Amarillo, TX, plant. Bell has said it hopes to have the 525 certified shortly after that.
The Bell 525 Relentless will have a maximum gross weight of 18,000 pounds plus, and will be capable of carrying up to 16 passengers at a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour (161.5/mph) for distances up to 740 kilometers (460 miles). It’s destined to become the largest civil helicopter Bell has ever built.
About KUKA Systems
Headquartered in Augsburg/Germany, KUKA Systems is an international supplier of engineering services and flexible automation systems for the Automotive, Aerospace, Energy, Logistics and Industrial Solutions segments. Some 3,600 employees worldwide work on ideas, concepts and solutions for automated production and the provision of products and services for virtually all tasks in the industrial processing of metallic and non-metallic materials. The range is presented and marketed internationally via the subsidiaries and sales offices in Europe, America and Asia. KUKA Systems recorded an order volume of around Euro 850.7 million for the 2011 business year.

KUKA Systems Corporation North America based in Sterling Heights, MI is responsible for the North American business and the worldwide aerospace division. KUKA’s Aerospace division focuses on all aspects of tooling and assembly processes for aircraft manufacturing.

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