We’ve got used to think that Russian production factories are, as a rule, half-destroyed buildings with leaking roofs and crooked staircases ending at the ceiling. However, the aircraft construction factory where they produce Sukhoi Superjets 100 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, is a sufficient refutation of the charge. About 12 thousand people work at the two departments of the factory. In the first one they make the fuselage, and in the other one they install electronics, engines, etc. Let’s see how they turn a piece of aluminium into a plane.
Actually, no photographing is permitted.
Moscow sends electronic models of planes to the factory, which later has to produce them. By the way, the Sukhoi Superjet was the first to have been produced in this way. The ‘electronic’ production saves its designers and constructers about 2 years of time.
Here they turn aluminium into aircraft parts.
These are computerized control machines. There are 30 of them at the factory.
Chips go for recycling.
No one but a machine operator, participates in it. He watches the process on the screen, which is also the control panel.
These machines can cut large parts of a very complicated shape.
This part has been cut out by the machine.
The aircraft’s fuselage has over 40 thousand rivets and the wing has over 15 thousand ones. With the help of this riveting laser, they drill holes and install rivets.
They also cut out small components with it.
There are almost no straight parts in the plane, so to bend them, they use these forms.
Presses shape the part in the right way.
The wing skin gets shaped manually at a separate press.
They control the 14-meter wing skin production with this mould set. The deflection must not be more than 1 millimeter.
If the deflection exceeds the limit, they apply another special machine.
When the wing skin has aquired the right shape, they prime it to prevent corrosion.
For each fuselage panel, there is a special ‘pallet’.
Automated riveting machines. Each plane has about 55 thousand rivets.
The process is controled by a couple of machine operators.
Fastening marking is made by hand.
The machine cannot replace the human completely, so workers sometimes have to mark spots for riveting by themselves.
After the link-up, they begin to assemble the fuselage.
They’re assembling the 20th aircraft.
In order to exclude plays, they have to machine bolt-holes in a special way.
The closer the butt is, the longer the lifetime of the component will be.
A wing spar assembly panel.
Wearing earphones are a necesary job safety measure at manual fastening.
This frame separates the passenger compartment and the tail section of the aircraft.
The center wing with a fuel tank inside. They attach wings to it.
In this department they assemble wings.
Here they install wing spars and wing ribs.
’95021 left’ means that this is a loose piece of the wing which belongs to the aircraft #21. On the whole, Sukhoi has produced 11 aircrafts.
These manholes in the lower part of the wing are made for service crew members to get inside.
One of the movable manhole covers.
Inner space of the wing, just as the central wing, is used as a fuel tank.
In this department they assemble and join fuselage compartments.
Joint fuselage panels.
Information about Department #89.
In each department you can find detailed information about what they do there.
This is going to be a floor.
It is installed into the fuselage.
After that they cover it with a special aircraft floor.
The luggage compartment is situated right under it.
Fuselage sections are joined automatically.
No Russian factory has such a machine yet, including military factories.
In this department they infuse life into the plane: install engines and electronics, attach wings…
The first thing which strikes the eyes of the visitor of the department is its perfect cleanness.
Light boxes inform on the work which is being done on each of the six aircrafts at the moment.
They clean up the department four times a day.
They control the assembly process from these enclosed offices, like they do at Boeing.
They assemble six aircrafts at the same time and there is one ready waiting for its customer to take it away.
There are six work stations where each of the six planes spends 30 days, before moving to the next station.
The first work station or Platform #1. Here they install piping and electrical wires, doors, etc.
First wires are being laid.
Installation of the cover of an auxiliary power plant.
The central wing.
At Platform #2 they attach wings, install the undercarriage, the nose dome, etc.
The SSJ100 is the first plane joined automatically.
After the wings have been attached, they install the undercarriage.
Each undercarriage stands up to 70 thousand takeoffs and landings.
The Superjet has about 83 kilometers of wires.
The soft cover protects the twisted strip from dust and shows the order of joining.
Heat insulating and soundproof mats.
A warning sign.
At Platform #3 they install wing flaps, slats, etc.
At the fourth station they install the hydraulic and airlock systems.
At stage #5 they test all the systems alive.
They’re installing the cable system.
At Platform #6 they install seats, engines, the flight compartment, and carry out a checkup to pass the plane for a test-flight.
The cover the seats to keep them clean.
Russian-French engines SaM146.
The engines are optimized for 75 persons but air companies tend to order 95-seat cabins, which makes Sukhoi work on the way to increase the power of the engine by 5%.
After the test-flight, the plane flies to Ulyanovsk where they paint it and then bring it back to Komsomolsk-on- Amur to fix the defects.
A new SSJ100 is ready for Aeroflot.
Today it takes the company 180 days to make an aircraft, which is rather long, so they want to upgrade the production process to shorten this time to 54 days.
The luggage compartment.
The economy class.
The distance between the two rows in the economy class is 79 centimetres; in the business class it is 97 centimetres.
The business class.
The Superjet can be rightly considered to be the rebirth point of Russian aircraft construction.