Underfloor heating on an industrial scale at the Airbus factory

Warmafloor surface heating provided a significantly more cost effective solution than the more traditional heating systems for the Airbus A380 wings assembly lines.

Fact File

  • Year: 2004
  • Size:
  • Type: Factory
  • Sector: Industrial
  • Floor Type: Manifolds
  • Floor Type: Pipe
  • Floor Type: Structural Concrete Floor

The project

In one of the country’s largest ever underfloor heating installations, Warmafloor completed a project calling for some 60 kilometres of pipe for the Airbus, in its Aerostructures Assembly and Manufacturing Centre known as the “West Factory”, in Broughton, North Wales.

It is at the West Factory that the wings of the Airbus A380 555 seater double-decker aircraft are assembled and other manufacturing activities take place.

Underfloor heating was considered the natural choice for this part of the assembly area, providing a significantly more cost effective solution than the more traditional heating systems.

AirbusFactory_1

The solution

AirbusFactory_2The installation was designed supplied and installed by Warmafloor using all their in house expertise to provide the complete package. The system uses 20 mm polybutylene pipe manufactured in the UK especially for Warmafloor. The pipes are laid in each of the six equipping bays with each bay having 10 heating zones.

The underfloor heating manifolds were specifically manufactured for this project. Unlike the traditional system of a flow and return manifold, located vertically above each other, Warmafloor had to construct a system where the manifolds were fixed side by side. This was designed to achieve the most effective layout for the underfloor heating pipework.

Due to the location of the manifolds and the underfloor heating pipe connections, the pipework had to be fed through pre cast holes within the trench, then into the desired bays. Each hole and manifold location had to be coordinated precisely, using our design team we produced the exact detailed drawings required.

The zonal design enables heat to be concentrated in those parts of the building being used for production at any one time. Despite the massive scale of the building, ambient temperatures of 18 degrees C in the depths of winter by inputting water into the heating grid at 50 deg C, providing an energy saving over alternative heating methods of some 50%.

The benefits

“The sheer size of the development represented a significant challenge”, says Mike Cooke of Mechanical & Electrical services contractors Haden Young. “However, the design and installation skills of Warmafloor, combined with the benefits of underfloor heating to enabled the fast track programme to be completed ready on time.”