March 16, 2015
Boeing 787 output set to increase yet again
Back in November 2012, Boeing had established a build rate of 5 787s per month. Just over a year and three production increases later, in January 2014 that figure was up to 10. The company is aiming for an increase to 12 units per month by 2016, and 14 by 2020. The current order book, as of February 2015, sees numbers standing at 1,072 aircraft with 247 already delivered. Like Airbus, Boeing are operating on a book to build ration of approximately 2:1, so the order book backlog continues to grow.
This situation may now be eased slightly as news is released of the construction of a new giant ‘oven’ in Ngoya, Central Japan. Built for Kawasaki heavy Industries, the new JPY¥35bn (US$288m) plant will manufacture the forward fuselage for the 787 Dreamliner, including the 330-seat stretch design which is expected to be completed in 2017. The plant has an oversized kiln used to bake and harden sections of carbon composite aircraft fuselage, which will allow it to exceed Boeings 2020 target of 14 units a month for the 787 Dreamliner, according to Deputy Director of KHI’s 787 manufacturing unit, Akira Inomata.
Currently KHI builds approximately 10% of the 787, including supplying the main landing gear well and wing parts, as well as the fuselage. Additionally, Japanese companies construct 35% of the composite aircraft, which makes it Boeing’s most outsourced airliner, with the wings made at a nearby Mitsubishi Heavy Industries factory. However the new variant of the 777, the 777X will see more construction taking place in the USA and Japan’s contribution reduced to 21%. Current assembly of the 787 Dreamliner takes place at either of Boeing’s facilities at Everett, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C.