Airbus UK

A380 Trailing Edge Wing Assembly Jigs, via Hyde Group

Airbus A380 flying

Tritec’s experience in Control Systems Engineering meant we were ideally placed to provide the control systems design and installation for the Airbus A380 trailing edge wing assembly jigs at Airbus UK’s production site in Filton.

The Airbus A380 is one of the world’s largest commercial airliners, with a wing span of 79.6 metres and the capability to carry 555 passengers in its standard configuration.

Each wing jig is over 50 metres long and has 3400 sensors and 21 motors.

Feasibility and Concept Design

Tritec were initially approached by the Hyde Group, a UK engineering services provider working in the production facility. Initially Tritec conducted a feasibility study to determine the best control system architecture, liaising with the mechanical design team from Hyde Group and engineers from Airbus to achieve the best solution for the automated precision actuators.

The control system was required to manipulate various sections of the assembly jig. This required 7 independent servo axes, each with an positional accuracy of 0.025mm.

Equipment Specification and Procurement

Tritec was responsible for the electrical system design, specifying, sourcing and procuring the components used, as well as the control system software design and screen-based user interfaces.

Process Control Design and Build

The control system comprised a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), dedicated motion controller modules and servo amplifiers, integrated servo motors/encoders with gearbox and brake units, high speed counter modules, EMC filters, pneumatic shoot bolts, proximity detectors and Humans-Machine Interface (HMI) units on pedestals.

The HMI control panel featured a colour LCD screen for reporting system information and inputting user variables, push buttons for axis control, and LED indicators.

Some of the control system was housed in a cabinet, other parts were located around the jig itself. Each operator control panel was located adjacent to the axis it was operating on the jig.

Installation and Commissioning

Airbus A380 jig, with control system designed and installed by Tritec

The control cabinet was initially built in the workshop at Tritec.

On-site installation and commissioning took place over 3 months to very tight timescales. It involved installing the control cabinet, the servo system, 8 HMI display pedestals and over 4,000 metres of cable.

Documentation and Training

Tritec provided a series of training courses aimed at operators and maintenance engineers, covering both the electrical and software systems. Full documentation was supplied to Airbus.

Once the jig was operational, Tritec provided on-site support during the first aircraft build.


Early cabinet assembly in the TRITEC workshop
Finished control cabinet prior to shipping to site
Control cabinet again
Space prior to assembly line installation
Part-installed line
Wired control cabinet in situ
Jig installation
Control panel, designed and built by TRITEC, installed on site
Installation complete