The A350 programme has become Airbus’s first to introduce digital Auto-ID/RFID (Radio Frequency ID) part-marking for flyable components in production.

Auto-ID part-marking will soon supersede traditional paper-based traceability means in all A350 plants and the final assembly line (FAL). Going forward, as parts are fitted to an aircraft, installation will be confirmed with an electronic scanner.

Accurate aircraft parts traceability is necessary for assuring Airbus product quality and regulatory compliance, which has historically been managed manually using thousands of parts ID slips – one for each part fitted.

A statement from Airbus notes: “The introduction of digital Auto-ID for flyables ensures better quality data and represents significant cost savings thanks to accelerated traceability tasks and total paper trail elimination on a large scale.”

Airbus’ other aircraft programmes will adopt the new approach in due course, with traceability automation becoming a reality for the A380 before year end, followed by the A320 and A330 in 2018.