Boeing (Chicago, Ill., USA) and carbon fiber manufacturer Hexcel (Stamford, Conn., USA) on Nov. 7 announced a 40 percent factory expansion of their joint venture Aerospace Composites Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (ACM, Bukit Kayu Hitam, Malaysia) to support increased production by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. ACM produces flight surfaces for all of Boeing’s commercial programs, including the Next-Generation 737, 747-8, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner.
The RM50 million ($17 million) investment by Boeing and Hexcel adds 125,000 ft2/11,613m2 to a factory footprint that now totals 440,000 ft2/40,877m2, and the project includes a cleanroom expansion of 11,000 ft2/1,022m2 and installation of RM14 million ($5 million) in new equipment. With the added capacity, ACM is expected to grow its high-tech manufacturing workforce beyond its current 950 employees, furthering ACM’s position as the region’s leading employer. The added capacity is expected to be partially used to begin production of 787 fixed leading edge panels in 2014.
“Boeing and Hexcel are increasing ACM’s capacity as a direct result of its proven high performance and ability to expand its capabilities to support the quality, reliability and affordability of Boeing’s commercial aircraft,” says John Byrne, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president, Airplane Materials and Structures. “Boeing and Malaysia have a long history of collaboration, and ACM is a great example of the mutual benefit earned by growing Malaysia’s hightech sector and supporting Boeing’s supply chain.”
“Hexcel is deeply committed to the success of ACM and the Boeing aircraft it supports,” says Russ Thurman, Hexcel Corp., director of operations Americas. “We share in ACM’s continued passion in the advancement of composite aerospace production while expanding on our collective success as the employer of choice for the people of Malaysia”
At the ceremony, executives also unveiled a new name for the company, Aerospace Composites Malaysia, formerly Asian Composites Manufacturing. Currently owned by Boeing and Hexcel, ACM was formed in 1998 as a joint venture for composites fabrication and minor parts assembly due to the region’s skilled workforce, Malaysia’s role as a long-term Boeing customer and Malaysia’s vision and efforts to become an aerospace hub in Asia.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes is the end customer for nearly all of ACM’s output. As a direct supplier to Boeing Commercial Airplanes, ACM builds 747-8 aileron panels and spoiler components and fixed leading edge panels for the 787 Dreamliner and NextGeneration 737. ACM also directly supports Hexcel by building fixed trailing edge panels for the Next-Generation 747, 7478 767 and 777. For Boeing Aerostructures Australia, ACM produces 747 variable camber & Krueger flap panels and 737 ailerons. For FACC, ACM builds fixed leading edge panels for the Next-Generation 737, 767 and 777.