It was a big day at Boeing SC recently when they held a grand opening of their newest production facility at their North Charleston campus. Now, besides producing the popular Dreamliner series, Boeing has gotten back into the design and production of engine parts for their single aisle 737 MAX Series.
After out-sourcing much of this work for the past decade, Boeing has decided to re-enter the manufacturing of 737 MAX fan cowls and engine inlet components at their North Charleston location. Executives stated that the reason that this location was chosen was due to the talent of the local workers as well as the business friendly aspects of being located in South Carolina. Obviously with the success of the Dreamliner production facility, it was a natural fit to complement it with the 737 MAX engine parts manufacturing. The new engine inlet parts will reduce both the noise and the drag of the 737 MAX making it more fuel-efficient.
Jack Jones, the retiring vice-president and general manager of Boeing SC said, “The reason we’re here today is because of the success of the (Dreamliner) team,” Jones said. “We’re not just building three and a half, we’re going to go to seven (a month). … They (Boeing executives) said if we can be that successful for a main facility, we can be successful in smaller-part assembly like what they’re doing here.”
Situated at Palmetto Commerce Park, this 225,000 square foot Propulsion South Carolina plant joins Boeing’s other facilities there. Currently, a Boeing research and development center and a Boeing interior responsibilities center are also located at Palmetto Commerce Park. Additionally, a 256,000 square foot paint facility is being built allowing Boeing to paint the Dreamliner in North Charleston without having to fly the planes to be finished elsewhere. Boeing executives believe that propulsion manufacturing is and continues to be a core competency of the company.
The propulsion facility is expected to employ about 150 mechanics and engineers when it become fully functional later this year. According to a Boeing executive, it will house one of “the aerospace industry’s most advanced automated manufacturing systems.” These are exciting times on the Palmetto Commerce Parkway as Boeing’s footprint becomes larger and larger.