Boeing builds its 787 jets at plants in Everett Wash and North Charleston SC

Boeing builds its 787 jets at plants in Everett, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C.

Boeing Expanding Charleston Assembly Plant

Fabricating space will increase 63% Painting operation to expand 54% Third join tool for aft-fuselage assembly

Boeing Commercial Airplanes reportedly will expand its new South Carolina aircraft-manufacturing complex as it works to increase its production of the new 787 “Dreamliner” — its marquis jet for air carriers seeking to replace aging fleets.

The Dreamliner is a wide-body twin-engine aircraft with long range and carrying capacity for 210 to 330 passengers. Boeing claims it is its most fuel-efficient commercial jet, with a structure based on a large volume of composite materials that helps to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% versus similar-size jets. A more advanced aerodynamic design than previous jets, more-electric systems, and modern engines add to the 787’s appeal to airlines.

Having built a new manufacturing complex in North Charleston, S.C., Boeing now aims to complete 10 787s per month there by the end of 2013. Expanding the buildings will allow it to achieve a more efficient production flow.

One building on the site where aft fuselage bodies are fabricated will be more than doubled (63%) in size with 276,000 square feet of new space. The painting operation at the plant will have 37,000 square feet of new space, a 54% expansion.

Also, Boeing is adding a third “join tool” to the Charleston operation. The tool is a fixturing device that’s used in the process of assembling two critical carbon-fiber sub-structures for the aft fuselage of the 787. Join tools make it possible to link two carbon-fiber sections that have a critical taper and form the rear of the jet, holding them in alignment as fasteners are installed. Then, aft-fuselage structures become part of the final assembly of the 787 at Charleston.

The new join tool will be in operation by mid 2013.

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