Kawasaki Motors Opens New Production Division To Manufacture For Boeing
Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. recently opened a new production division for aerospace parts. As of May 1st, 2017, the Lincoln, Nebraska based production facility began producing cargo doors for Boeing’s upcoming upgrade to its 777 passenger plane: the 777X.
Although Kawasaki has been making aerospace parts for Boeing for decades, the new division in Nebraska represents the first time those parts will be made in the U.S. The company recently celebrated with a grand opening ceremony on May 18th.
Image Source: Wikimedia
Investing In Automation
Through a $12.6 million investment, Kawasaki converted 30,000 square feet of space of its 27th Street production facility specifically to produce the 777X cargo doors. The plant was already manufacturing Kawasaki ATVs, utility vehicles, personal watercraft, and railway cars.
Much of the investment went to an Electroimpact automatic riveting machine, and robotic painting machine designed to efficiently produce the cargo doors.
Image Source: Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc.
New Jobs, Future Production Hopes
Much of the machinery is automated for highly efficient manufacturing but the new Boeing production division is still expected to add 50 news jobs. This is in addition to 2,000 workers already employed at the Lincoln production facility.
Although the Boeing division plant is currently just focused on the production the cargo doors, plant manger and vice president, Mike Boyle expressed hopes for additional work moving forward. “We’re getting our feet wet right now with Boeing […] We hope if things work out we’ll be considered for more.”
Due For Boeing’s 777X Debut
Currently, Kawasaki’s new division is working to complete a program to ensure the resulting doors are in compliance with 777X qualifications. While production began in May, the finished doors are not expected to ship out until January 2018—in time for the new plane’s 2020 debut.
Outside of their Lincoln facility, Kawasaki is also manufacturing fuselage panels, main landing gear wells, and pressure bulkheads for the Boeing 777X.
What are your thoughts on this aerospace manufacturing development coming out of Nebraska?
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