Fuji Heavy Industries To Build Wings for Eclipse 500 and
License Use of Friction Stir Welding
Corporation, manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 jet, and Fuji Heavy
Industries Ltd. (FHI), comprehensive transportation manufacturer in
Japan, today announced a strategic partnership where FHI will
manufacture the complete wing assembly for the revolutionary
Eclipse 500. In addition, as part of a long-term agreement, Eclipse
has agreed to license its friction stir welding process to FHI for
use in the Eclipse 500 wing assemblies as well as other potential
applications within FHI's manufacturing operations.
Fuji Heavy Industries is a global manufacturer of transportation
and aerospace related products and the maker of SUBARU automobiles.
It manufactures the center-wing section of the Boeing 777 and was
recently contracted to build components for the Airbus A380.
"Fuji Heavy Industries is proud to form a strategic partnership
with Eclipse Aviation, the leader in the burgeoning light jet
market. Market acceptance of the Eclipse 500 has been very strong
and we look forward to providing the wing assemblies for the
aircraft," said Norihisa Matsuo, FHI corporate senior vice
president and president of FHI Aerospace Company.
"Eclipse's pioneering work in friction stir welding is very
impressive, and by adding their unique and advanced technology, we
can expand our friction stir welding capability. FHI expects to
apply this process both in manufacture of the Eclipse 500 wing as
well in other strategic areas of our business."
Friction stir welding is highly automated and significantly
faster than other structural joining processes. It enables a
drastic reduction in aircraft assembly time and eliminates the need
for thousands of rivets, resulting in reduced assembly costs,
better quality joining and stronger, lighter joints. There are
currently 5,300 inches of weld for each Eclipse 500, replacing more
than 60 percent of the rivets on major assemblies including the
cabin, aft fuselage and wings. Eclipse has pioneered the use of
friction stir welding in high-volume production of thin-gauge
aluminum and is the first to use the process to build primary
"The relationship with Fuji Heavy Industries marks an important
milestone in our program as we not only partner with an aerospace
leader to manufacture a major sub-assembly for the Eclipse 500, but
also gain significant validation for the friction stir welding
process we pioneered," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of
Eclipse Aviation. "I am pleased that Fuji Heavy Industries has
recognized the value of this next-generation joining process and is
embracing it across its business."
Some SERIOUS Horsepower Between These Two...
The origin of Fuji Heavy Industries
(Subaru) is back in Nakajima Aircraft Laboratory founded in 1917.
Its Aerospace Company has been a major prime aircraft-manufacturer,
designing and producing trainers, including the first jet trainer
in Japan, helicopters and UAV's. It announced in August the success
of demonstrating an automatic take-off/landing system, which can be
applied to small aircraft. It also has been deeply involved in the
manufacture of Boeing aircraft since 1973, including the 767 and
most notably the 777. In a first for foreign partners, FHI is
responsible for the vital center-wing section connecting the main
wings and the fuselage. FHI joined with Boeing at the design stage
to address joint development and manufacture of this important
assembly. FHI also produces a number of other Boeing products. FHI
has earned the honor of Boeing's 2002 "Supplier of the Year" award
ahead of 11,300 other suppliers around the world for its overall
support to Boeing programs.
Eclipse Aviation, of course, is in the business of designing,
certifying and producing modern, affordable jet aircraft that will
revolutionize the transportation market. The company is applying
advanced electronics systems, manufacturing and business practices
to produce aircraft that cost about a quarter of today's small jet
aircraft, will be significantly safer and easier to operate than
those of today, and have the lowest cost of ownership ever achieved
in a jet aircraft. The goal of Eclipse is to bring the word
"personal" into aviation, making it possible for commercial air
passengers to move directly between cities on a quick, affordable
and convenient basis. It will also allow pilot owners to enter the
world of jet-powered aviation.