Boeing said it plans to open a new £20 million production facility in Sheffield to manufacture high-tech components for its next-generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 aircraft.
Boeing Sheffield will be the company’s first manufacturing facility in Europe and it will manufacture actuation systems for the trailing edge of wings of these models.
“The UK provides Boeing with the talent and infrastructure we need to grow and maintain a high level of productivity and quality to meet our significant order book,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland.
“We are proud to expand our relationship with the UK still further with Boeing Sheffield.
“Our decision to start manufacturing high-value components in the UK is a step-change in our engagement and a further example of Boeing’s commitment to grow here, supporting the UK’s long-term prosperity.”
Boeing Sheffield will employ about 30 people when it opens as part of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ fabrication operations and will work closely with Boeing Portland.
Subject to local authority and other planning permissions, the proposed 2,300-square-metre (25,000 square feet) Boeing Sheffield facility will be built alongside The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC), a machining and materials research campus founded in 2001 by Boeing and the University of Sheffield.
“This announcement is the culmination of a successful relationship that has developed since the AMRC was founded and reinforces that our region is a leading location for high-value advanced manufacturing,” said Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC with Boeing.
“We look forward to supporting Boeing and continuing to ensure that UK manufacturers remain competitive, through access to our expertise here at the AMRC.”
Boeing also plans to initiate a major research and development programme with the AMRC to develop new manufacturing techniques that can be applied in the new Boeing Sheffield facility.
The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will support this through grant funding, subject to agreement on the formal terms and conditions of that funding.
“Boeing Sheffield is an investment in manufacturing that will benefit our customers by driving improvements in quality and efficiency,” said Jenette Ramos, vice president and general manager of Boeing Fabrication.
“The expanded fabrication capability will grow our existing operations and strengthen our global services.”
Trailing edge actuation systems are responsible for extending and retracting the wing’s flaps during different phases of flight.
The flaps add lift to enable take-off and landing at lower speeds and provide drag to help slow the aircraft.
Boeing employs more than 2,000 people across the UK at sites from Glasgow to Gosport.
The AMRC was established in 2001 as a £15 million collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Boeing with the purpose of using Sheffield’s traditional expertise in materials and machining and applying those skills for future technological development.