Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI, Tokyo, Japan) has completed facility expansion at the Aircraft Shop of the Yamatomachi Plant of its Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, in preparation for production increase of composite wing boxes for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. MHI expanded the facility in response to Boeing's plan to increase the 787's production rate from the current 10 airplanes per month to 14 by the end of the decade.
The expansion at the Shimonoseki facility will enable the increase of production capacity of stringers and reinforcement structures integrated into the wing boxes, which have been produced at the Aircraft Shop since 2006. For increased stringer production, production machinery will go into operation sequentially, including an autoclave for curing and shapeforming the layered composite prepregs under high temperature and high pressure, and cutting machines for machining of components.
The stringers manufactured at the Aircraft Shop are transported to the Oye Plant of MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Aichi Prefecture, where they are integrated into the wing boxes for shipment to Boeing. Preparations are also under way to increase production capacity at the Oye Plant.
MHI has produced composite wing boxes for the 787 Dreamliner since the program was launched. Delivery of the first unit took place in May 2007. MHI continues to play an important role in the 787 program through expanded production and supply of high-quality composite wing boxes.