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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has completed the construction of a fabrication factory in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, for the composite-material wing boxes of the Boeing 787.
In combination with an adjoining assembly factory to be completed this September, the fabrication factory will form the company’s new composite wing centre, where integrated manufacturing will span from parts forming to wing box assembly.
The fabrication factory has a total floorspace of approximately 47,000 square meters (506,000 square feet) – roughly 210 meters long and 170 meters wide – with a ceiling height of 35 meters. Its state-of-the-art equipment includes contour tape lay-up (CTL) systems for layering of composite-material tape, one of the world’s largest autoclaves that bake and cure the layered materials at high temperature and under high pressure, and jet cutting machines to process the cured parts. Upon inauguration, the factory will initially be operated by approximately 500 employees. Full-scale production is expected to commence this July.
MHI also recently completed the construction of a factory to manufacture composite-material skin stringers, converting part of the existing Yamatomachi Plant at its Shimonoseki Shipyard and Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Production of the 787 wing boxes will be conducted through close coordination of the company’s three factories in Shimonoseki and Nagoya.
MHI has engaged in research and development in the area of composite materials for a long time and already boasts a solid record in supplying various components, including those used in long-haul business jets, Japan Defense Agency aircraft and rockets. Based on this experience, MHI is now taking responsibility for the wings of the Boeing 787, an aircraft that is expected to attract orders for more than 1,000 units over the next 20 years.
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