Giant Japanese oven gives Boeing room to ramp up 787 output
NAGOYA, Japan (Reuters) - Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (7012.T: Quote) opened a plant on Friday with an oversized kiln to bake and harden carbon fiber aircraft fuselage sections, giving it capacity to surpass Boeing Co's (BA.N: Quote) production targets for the 787 Dreamliner.
Deputy Director of KHI's 787 manufacturing unit, Akira Inomata, said the plant in Nagoya, central Japan, had the capacity to go "beyond the 14" Dreamliners that Boeing planned to build every month by 2020.
The new 35 billion yen ($288.18 million) plant will build the forward fuselage for the Dreamliner, including the 330-seat stretch version slated for completion in 2017.
KHI builds about 10 percent of the 787. In addition to the fuselage it also supplies the main landing gear well and wing parts.
Japanese companies build 35 percent of the composite aircraft, making it Boeing's most outsourced jetliner. The 787's wings are made at a nearby factory operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T: Quote).
Orders for the 787 have exceeded 1,000 aircraft, with around 250 delivered.
Boeing is building 10 Dreamliners a month, and plans to ramp up production to 12 a month in 2016 and 14 before the end of the decade.
For its latest aircraft, the 777X, which will replace the 777, the U.S. company has kept more of the work at home, including the wings. Kawasaki and other Japanese manufacturers will build 21 percent of that jetliner.
Executives from Boeing, KHI and other companies attended a Shinto religious ceremony at the Nagoya plant to mark its completion. Continued...