New production facilities at Embraer’s Portuguese plant to lead to innovation in aircraft design

Development and installation of innovative production equipment at the Embraer Portugal Estruturas Metálicas plant at Évora, in Portugal’s Alentejo region has been made possible with funding from the EU. The upgraded industrial facilities will be used to make large components and complex metallic structures for commercial transport aircraft.

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The project supports Embraer Portugal’s attempts to innovate, with an important element of the new facilities being the automation of certain plant production processes. The purchase of three new milling machines is another key aspect.

These machines are intended to facilitate the manufacture of critical metallic components for use in a new wing created for the future generation of Embraer jet aircraft. This wing incorporates an innovative design that lowers aerodynamic drag, leading to a 3.5 % reduction in fuel consumption in comparison with current designs.

Innovative products destined exclusively for export

All technology produced using the new equipment is likely to be destined for export, and these products are expected to account for 61 % of the company’s overall sales. In addition, Embraer Portugal is set to create 199 new jobs as a result of the upgrades to its factory.

A total of more than EUR 63.6 million is being invested in the development of the Évora plant. Of this, approximately EUR 23.5 million is supplied through EU funding.

Part of a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate

Embraer Portugal Estruturas Metálicas is owned by Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate with its headquarters and a production base in São José dos Campos, São Paulo State. Founded in 1969 as a government-owned corporation, Embraer was privatised during the 1990s. It now does business worldwide, manufacturing commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft and providing aeronautical services.

In 2008, Embraer announced the launch of two new plants in Portugal, both in Évora. While Embraer Portugal Estruturas Metálicas focuses on the manufacture of machined metal structures, the other plant – which is 37 100 m² in area – deals with the assembly of composite structures. Both plants became fully operational in 2013.

With a population of around 56 000, Évora is the largest city in the Alentejo region. Since Embraer decided to open factories in the city, the aerospace sector has become an important part of the local economy. Other suppliers are expected to establish themselves on the land around the Embraer buildings, leading to creation of Portugal’s first aerospace cluster within an 877 000 m² aeronautical park.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Embraer Portugal Estruturas Metálicas, S.A. - Development and implementation of advanced industrial solutions for the production of large components and complex metallic structures for new commercial transport aircraft” is EUR 63 625 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 23 533 850 through the “Competitiveness and Internationalisation” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.

Draft date

02/10/2017