The Seattle Times reported on May 15 that Boeing will build the carbon fiber composite tail of the 777X jet at its facility in Frederickson, Wash., USA, according to site manager Dave Moe.
The Frederickson facility builds a similar tail for the current 777, so the decision was not unexpected, although officials quoted in the report expressed relief. The 777X aircraft will be assembled in nearby Everett, Wash.
The Frederickson plant is home to the Composites Manufacturing Center (CMC) and employs 750 people working on CFRP parts and structures for the tail of the current 777 as well as the vertical fin of the 787 Dreamliner.
Moe told the newspaper that at the CMC the vertical fin and the horizontal stabilizer for the 777X will be fabricated and fully assembled; then wiring, hydraulics and other systems will be installed before delivery to Everett.
The facility has automated fiber and tape placement machines, as well as three large autoclaves. According to the report, Moe says the build plan for the 777X tail — which will be a little bigger than the 777 tail — has not been finalized, but he expects to use elements of the 787 tail manufacturing process and to add automation. Boeing operates a duplicate plant in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, to make tails for the 787 and it's possible that more 787 work will be funneled there to make room in Frederickson for 777X tail work.
Click The Seattle Times for original report.
Editor PickGardner Business Index at 54.1 in January
The US composites industry looks as strong as it has since early 2015, with expectations the highest in years.