► CNIM Air Space: a new production line dedicated to tethered aerostats and airships

Ayguesvives, March 22nd 2021 – CNIM Air Space inaugurates a new production line dedicated to the assembly of its tethered aerostats and airships’ envelopes. The line has been set up inside CNIM Air Space’s current factory near Toulouse, in the South-West of France. It is a new addition to CNIM Air Space’s unique industrial facility in Europe, focused on “lighter-than-air” airborne solutions. An essential step to support the growth of this subsidiary of CNIM Group.

CNIM Air Space, a subsidiary of CNIM Group since March 2019, is one of the main European actor in the field of “lighter-than-air” airborne platforms and systems. The company, which employs more than 60 collaborators, designs and manufactures tethered aerostats, drone airships, stratospheric balloons and thermal protections for satellites.

A new production line to address a growing market

“We are currently working with major public and private actors in the Defence, Security and Space sectors”, explains Gaëtan Breurec, CNIM Air Space’s Managing Director. “We have been awarded with a significant number of contracts in 2019 and 2020. Our new production line is giving us the capacity to efficiently fulfil those contracts, while remaining committed to our long-time customers and ensuring the quality level expected when manufacturing aeronautics systems”.

On this new 55 meters long production line, CNIM Air Space will produce the envelopes of its tethered aerostats systems. Those aerostats, which are linked to the ground by a tether, are deployed for 24/7 surveillance or communication missions, lasting from a few days up to several months. Depending on the use case, they are complementary to drones, helicopters and airplanes. Nowadays, they are often deployed for maritime surveillance, securing large events, protecting sensitive sites, etc.

The new line will also produce the envelopes of the drone airships developed within a R&D partnership between CNIM Air Space and RTE (the French electricity transmission system operator), called the “Diridrone” project.

The main equipment of the new production line is a motorised assembly machine. “This tailor-made machine achieves ongoing assemblies and uses several assembly technologies, which give us the ability to select different kind of materials for our aerostats. Thanks to the motorization, the machine moves over the assembly line. Both our production technique and the space used to set up the line are optimized. Finally, the operators are now onboard the machine. It offers them more comfortable working conditions”explains François Martin, industrial engineer, in charge to set up the new line.