Sheffield City Region firms which supply parts for Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner aeroplane could be spared significant impact from the decision to ground the plane.
Steel made at Tata’s South Yorkshire plants goes into landing gear made by France-based Messier-Bugatti-Dowty for the Dreamliner.
It was designed to incorporate manufacturing techniques developed in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Catcliffe, Sheffield.
Meanwhile, other companies supply components for aero engines, while Rolls-Royce is currently building an advanced turbine blade casting facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, which will make blades for the Trent engines used on the Dreamliner and other aeroplanes.
However, confidence is increasing that the problems that led to the plane being grounded – believed to be connected to the aeroplane’s secondary electrical systems – will be resolved and there should be no long-term impact on the Dreamliner production line or Boeing’s supply chain.
Boeing is reported to be proposing checks on rechargeable batteries and changes to the procedures used by pilots in a bid to get Dreamliners’ flying again after suggestions overcharging Lithium Ion batteries caused the problems that led to the ‘planes being grounded.
The 50 Dreamliners delivered so far were grounded for an investigation and Boeing suspended production after a series of problems, including a fire on an empty Japan Airlines plane at an American airport, smoke warnings and fuel leaks.