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Vought Aircraft Industries last week celebrated the grand opening of its production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina – a 342,000-square-foot building that will provide composite fuselage sections for Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner airplane.
The building is located on a 240-acre site adjacent to Charleston International Airport. It was completed on schedule and within budget. Construction began on March 16, 2005 by general contractor Suitt Construction of Greenville, S.C., part of the BE&K Building Group. Vought received its certificate of occupancy from the City of North Charleston on March 29.
“Today we open our doors in South Carolina,” said Vought President and Chief Executive Officer Elmer Doty. “It’s a historic day for our company. We’re proud to be contributing to this exciting new aircraft program, while also contributing to the community by providing jobs.”
“When we announced Vought’s decision to build a plant here 18 months ago, we recognized this was a huge win for our state in terms of enhancing our ability to compete in a global economy for jobs, capital investment and the kind of industry that can fuel our state’s economy for many years to come,” said South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. “Ultimately, we believe this facility can become a hub for aerospace engineering and technology that will put South Carolina on the map when it comes to the aerospace and composite materials industries.””
Approximately 70,000 square feet of Vought’s 787 facility will be dedicated to a composites manufacturing “”clean room”” with interior clear heights of 40 feet. Its 787 autoclave, an oven where temperature and pressure are used to cure the composite material, is 30 feet in diameter and 75 feet long the largest of its kind in the world.
A key feature of the Vought building is a mezzanine-level walkway running the length of the facility, from which all manufacturing cells are visible at a safe distance from shop floor operations. A track system runs through the Vought facility to transport the fuselage barrel sections in the early stages of fabrication and assembly before they make their way to the integration facility next door.
Global Aeronautica, LLC, a joint venture between Vought and Alenia North America, operates the adjacent assembly and integration facility. Construction of the facility will be completed this month, with operations beginning before year end.
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