‘Mammoth’ MRO facility set for side-by-side servicing of Airbus 380 and Boeing 747
Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) has a new strategic MRO hub featuring dual 91.5m span hangars built by Rubb Building Systems.
The Rockford facility’s two insulated membrane-clad hangars each measure 300ft long with a 300ft clear span and 40ft sidewalls, culminating in a centre height of 100ft. Each structure has five-panel, vertical-lift Assa Abloy Megadoors, with pivoting mullions, allowing for comfortable housing of aircraft as large as the Airbus A380. The hot-dip galvanized steel frame is clad with two-inch-thick Thermohall® insulated fabric. Maintenance requirements are very low.
The vertical lifting Megadoors, with their exceptional seals, allow the facilities to be climate controlled cost effectively all year round. Complimenting the curved membrane structures, the Megadoors’ translucent fabric will also allow natural light in, creating a great work environment for the technicians, while minimising lighting costs.
The new MRO facility, operated by AAR, is capable of servicing an Airbus 380 and Boeing 747 at the same time. The 200,000 square-foot facility is expected to operate 24 hours a day and will greatly expand the airport’s infrastructure.
Jeff Polsean, Economic Development Manager, Chicago Rockford International Airport, said: “Even an extreme blizzard won’t slow the efficiency of the Rockford MRO. Now we have overcome severe funding challenges, 500 skilled workers will soon enjoy natural light in ideal working conditions at the 24-hour-per-day facility, delivered by Rubb Building Systems, operated by AAR.”
Dan Roszkowski, president of the project’s architectural firm Larson & Darby, added: “This one-of-a-kind building is truly mammoth as an MRO facility. It’s impressive from the inside and practical for all kinds of repair.”
The Rockford structure represents a high point in Rubb Buildings Systems history in highly efficient membrane clad commercial aviation hangars. According to Chuck Auger, Rubb USA’s Marketing Manager: “Rockford is a step change in hangar efficiency, also being our largest hangar ever. The proof will become clear with service and repair productivity, as well as energy efficiency.
“Rubb and Assa Abloy Megadoor have historically worked well together on numerous projects. Rubb’s robust frame structure and superior engineering supports even the most enormous Megadoor applications. The quality of Megadoor in combination with Rubb’s superior framing design makes the actual cost of door operations the lowest in the market, thereby saving the customer a lot of money in the long run.”
According to Pierre Varmaloff, Megadoor Sales: “MRO design should not be about housing aircraft, but quickly servicing planes to get them back in the air. Megadoors are all about reliability, saving time and money for facility operators, and increasing customer satisfaction. When workers have an optimal environment, this shows up in their work.”
Ken Ryan, Director of Business Development and Cargo, Chicago Rockford International Airport, commented: “RFD’s new facility is changing the business landscape not only the airport ground, but the region.”
Jeff Polsean added: “The real winner is the local economy and commercial aviation, having a strategically located high-tech facility. More cargo will be a wonderful additional benefit.”
AAR chose Rockford due to its central geographical location, highly trained workforce, cost effectiveness and access to a robust warehouse and distribution network. Rockford, Illinois is also a hub for aerospace and aviation technology, with Boeing, Woodward, UTC Aerospace Systems and GE Aviation all having facilities nearby.