With nearly 9,000 orders for their new LEAP engine, Snecma (Safran group) will certainly have to keep up their rate of production. To do this, the engine manufacturer will integrate high-tech assembly lines (Pulse Lines) at their Villaroche (near Paris) premises, identical to those already in place since 2009 for their highly successful CFM56 engine. With this 197 feet long x 66 feet wide (60 metres x 20 metres) overhead handling system, featuring a "swing cradle", the LEAP engine’s movements will be fully automated, meaning that the operators will no longer have to move up and down the line, but rather the reverse, the engine will come to them.
Compared to current CFM56 assembly lines, those of the LEAP will offer additional comfort to operators, since the swing cradle enables rotation of the engine around its horizontal axis, so employees will no longer have to work at height. Virtual reality assistance systems, amongst others will also be introduced, including a touch pad, which will indicate the exact positioning of the components to be installed.
The first LEAP dedicated assembly line will be operational in early 2017, and two more will follow. By 2020, each will be able to assemble the three versions of the LEAP and roll out 500 engines per year for Boeing, Airbus and the Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac, amounting to 1,500 engines in total. Snecma has not disclosed the amount of the investment.