Aircraft metal parts necessitate being aerodynamic, and therefore being formed by aeronautical boilermakers, which is the speciality of Bronzavia, in Sartrouville near Paris. A manual trade, often cited as being amongst those who are struggling to recruit.
Guillaume Krempp, Managing Director, Bronzavia: "It's very difficult to find people in these trades that are not necessarily as valued as they should be. When we get to create something with our hands, it is very rewarding for people, in addition, we finish up with a part that will be installed in an aircraft, in the engine environment, the cabin or cockpit ; metal parts that can be found throughout the ‘plane. "
From the drawings supplied by their customers, the SME of one hundred people, manufactures all kinds of parts, from helicopter door hinges, of just a few centimetres, up to these nose cones of over 1.6m ( 5¼ ft. ) in diameter, designed to cap the Ariane 5 booster rockets. To obtain the desired shape, the pieces are cut, then heated in furnaces up to 1,200 °C. ( 2,200 °F. ). They are then formed by presses, which are capable of applying forces of several hundred tons, followed by the welding process to form the desired part, like this Airbus A330 hydraulic engine tank, a Bronzavia leading product.But the chain does not stop there. As everywhere in aviation quality control is very strict. Any weld defects are picked up either by radiography or even ultra violet rays.
Philippe Rydier - Head of the radio/bleed division: "We just apply a fluorescent liquid product on the workpiece surface. After twenty minutes it is completely rinsed off with water, leaving the surface perfectly clean, except for the fluorescent liquid retained in the possible cracks and defects in the part’s surface, that will show up under UV light."
The shipped items are also checked by scanning from every angle. A requirement that pays, in 2014, Bronzavia achieved a turnover in excess of ten million euros.