Shifting into no-gear

on Monday, 30 July 2012.

Shifting into no-gear

Sometimes maligned, sometimes acclaimed, the continuously variable transmission is poised to snap up more North American market share in coming years.

After a surge of interest early in the past decade, the CVT had some rocky market introductions and its use declined sharply. But now automakers, pressured by rising fuel economy requirements, are reconsidering the efficient, gearless transmission.

Still, automakers must remedy past problems -- and overcome the CVT sneer factor -- to make the transmission as acceptable as the new wave of cutting-edge automatic transmissions.

Airbus overcoming A350 wing-drill automation snags

on Friday, 27 July 2012.

Airbus admits the slow pace of automated wing-drilling on the A350-900 forced the latest schedule slip to service entry, but the airframer believes it is overcoming the problem and aims to minimise the impact on the maiden flight.

A350 programme chief Didier Evrard tells Flightglobal that, in addition to the airframer's having to resort to manual drilling at its Broughton plant, the locking of jigs while the automation issue was addressed has had a knock-on effect on subsequent wing sets.

"The robot was not working properly, the software was not optimised," he says, and the drilling "took much more time".

The domino effect on production of the prototype fleet left "not enough margin to catch up", he adds, and led Airbus to push back entry into service to the second half of 2014.

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