Monday, February 06, 2012

Boeing in North Charleston found to have the assembly problem forcing inspections

North Charleston, SC --  Depending on the extent of the problem, it could cause more delays in the Dreamliner's manufacturing. It's major selling point are the composites, which makes the 7-8-7 lighter and more fuel efficient. But it's how the composites are assembled onto the plane that may be causing a problem in North Charleston.

Because the Dreamliner is the first plane to be made mostly with the lighter composites, that are proven safe. There may still be some, new discoveries when assembling it on a passenger jet fuselage.

The issue at the facility here is with what is called shimming. A shim is what holds two mating parts together. Most planes are assembled with aluminum. But mating pieces of carbon fiber composite is a different process. And that may be the issue crews are facing in North Charleston.

Boeing says it has found some signs of, delamination, that’s the word used when composite materials lose strength and crack.

In a statement sent to News 2, Boeing spokesperson Scott Lefeber says: “Boeing has found that incorrect shimming was performed on support structure on the aft fuselage of some 787s. We have the issue well defined and are making progress on the repair plan. There is no short-term safety concern.”

Boeing's first customer, All Nippon Air in Asia is already flying the Dreamliner and will continue to do so. Meantime Boeing officials say repairs, if needed, will be done in the most efficient manner possible.

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