Boeing plans first manufacturing plant in Europe

Boeing Commercial Airplanes plans to open its first manufacturing operation in Europe at Sheffield, England, as early as 2018, to perform complex machining of gear systems and flight controls for the Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, and 777 aircraft.

The parts are described as actuation devices on the trailing edge of aircraft wings. Trailing edge actuation systems are responsible for extending and retracting wing flaps during different phases of flight. The flaps add lift that allow take-off and landing at lower speeds, and provide drag to help slow the aircraft.

The project represents a capital investment of £20 million and is part of a plan by Boeing to begin in-house manufacturing of “key actuation components and systems” in the US and UK to improve production efficiency and lower supply-chain costs.

A Boeing component finishing plant at Portland, Ore., also will also be outfitted to produce actuators and assemble actuation systems for 737s and 777s.

The Sheffield operation will be built near The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, a machining and materials research campus founded in 2001.

Boeing added it plans to initiate a “major research and development programme” with the AMRC, to develop new manufacturing techniques that can be applied at the new Boeing Sheffield operation.

“Boeing Sheffield is an investment in manufacturing that will benefit our customers by driving improvements in quality and efficiency,” stated Jenette Ramos, vice president and general manager of Boeing Fabrication. “The expanded fabrication capability will grow our existing operations and strengthen our global services.”