Mukilteo-based engineering firm Electroimpact has won a contract to supply Boeing with the equipment that will assemble the giant wing of the forthcoming 777X jet.
Mukilteo-based engineering firm Electroimpact has won a big contract to supply Boeing with the equipment that will assemble the giant wing of the forthcoming 777X jet.
Electroimpact Vice President John Hartmann said more than 70 engineers are already designing the fixtures and the automation equipment that will make up the wing-assembly system, and the effort is set to expand beyond 100 engineers.
“It’s an anchor project for us,” he said.
Hartmann said Boeing won’t allow the contract’s value to be disclosed. A big wing-assembly system Electroimpact installed for Airbus in the early 2000s was worth about $200 million.
Most Read Business Stories
- Early 787 test plane is dismantled for reuse, recycling, or scrap
- Amazon workers' median pay in 2017: $28,446
- Southwest Airlines sought more time for inspections before Boeing 737’s engine exploded
- Apple’s New iPad is the best tablet for almost everybody | Tech review
- Metals-forging firm near Boeing Field closing after 8 decades so real estate can be sold
Electroimpact was tapped a year ago to supply the robotic fiber-placement machines that will fabricate the 777X wing parts made from carbon-fiber composite plastic. About 50 engineers are working on that contract.
Boeing will fabricate those wing parts inside a vast facility — the composite-wing center — under construction behind the main assembly building in Everett.
Electroimpact robots will lay down the carbon fiber and form it into wing skins, spars and stringers, which will then be baked to hardness in 120-foot-long pressure ovens called autoclaves.
Those finished components will be brought to the main assembly building, where mechanics will form them into finished wings using the assembly system that Electroimpact will design and install.
Electroimpact made its name by designing sophisticated wing-assembly systems for Airbus in Wales. The latest was the system for the A350 wing, which is made from carbon-fiber composites like the 777X wing.
Electroimpact also designed the wing-assembly system for Bombardier’s smaller CSeries jet.
And its radical revamp of Boeing’s 737 wing-assembly system in Renton has allowed Boeing to step up production there, with plans to reach 52 of the single-aisle jets a month by 2018.
Hartmann said the 777X system will be similar to the A350 and 737 work, only bigger.
The system will consist of fixtures large enough to accommodate the 777X wing, which is more than 100 feet long.
The jet is scheduled to enter service in 2020.
Electroimpact has about 750 employees worldwide, about 560 of them engineers. About 620 of the employees are in the U.S., including about 440 engineers.