LOS ANGELES Boeing Co.
will take on additional composite manufacturing duties when it
makes the next version of its 787 Dreamliner, and it is adding
to its Utah operations to do so.
The Chicago-based aerospace
manufacturer has purchased an 850,000-square-foot facility in
West Jordan, Utah, to produce components for the horizontal
stabilizer of the 787-9 Dreamliner, which is due to have its
initial test flight later this year with the first delivery
scheduled for early 2014. The 787-9 is about 15 percent longer
than the current 787-8.
Boeing purchased the facility
from Masco Corp., a Taylor, Mich.-based manufacturer of home
improvement and building products that isnt a supplier to
the 787. Boeing said it will take about two years to design and
construct the new plant.
The components for the current
787-8 horizontal stabilizer are supplied to Boeing by
subcontractor Alenia Aermacchi SpA of Venegono Superiore,
Italy, said a spokeswoman for Boeings Seattle-based
subsidiary, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. She said that both
Alenia and Boeing will manufacture the components for the
Reports during the initial phase
of 787-8 production had indicated problems with the stabilizer
components supplied by Alenia. The Boeing spokeswoman declined
to comment on those reports or whether they played a role in
Boeing taking on a larger production role for the 787-9.
Boeing noted that the recently
purchased facility is near the companys fabrication and
assembly site in Salt Lake City. The new facility "will provide
a real competitive advantage in our supply chain by expanding
our internal composite capabilities," said Ross R. Bogue, vice
president and general manager of the companys Boeing
Fabrication unit. The company will hire about 100 new employees
at the site.
Among the work currently
undertaken by the companys existing Salt Lake City-area
facility are assembly of the 787-9 horizontal stabilizer and
composite assembly of the 787-8 vertical fin.