Global VIPs attend launch of £40m Boeing factory

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Boeing bosses, top politicians and the US ambassador to the UK were in Sheffield today for the grand opening of the aerospace giant’s first factory in Europe.

Boeing senior vice president Jenette Ramos, business secretary Greg Clark MP and US ambassador Woody Johnson were set to give speeches before a plaque was due to be unveiled to open the £40m factory.

James Needham, senior operations leader Boeing Sheffield.

James Needham, senior operations leader Boeing Sheffield.

It will make parts for 737s and 767s. They will be shipped to Boeing Portland and assembled into actuation systems – the motors that move wingflaps – before being taken to another factory to be installed on aircraft wings.

The site will employ 52, including 25 apprentices, and make 10,000 parts-a-month at full production next year.

Jenette Ramos, Boeing senior vice president of manufacturing, supply chain and operations, was set to say: “We appreciate all the community support for Boeing’s new advanced manufacturing factory in the UK. This is a fabulous example of how we are engaging global talent to provide greater value to our customers.

Boeing Sheffield manufactures 147 components - including spur gears, shafts and housings - for the 737 and 767 wing trailing edge. Actuation systems provide extra lift at low speeds during takeoff and landing.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Boeing factory next to the AMRC Factory 2050.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Boeing factory next to the AMRC Factory 2050.

Secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Greg Clark, was saying: “Boeing choosing the heart of South Yorkshire as its first European home is testament to our capabilities, talent pool and strong manufacturing supply chains which are vital to job creation and creating value for local economies.

“We are leading the world in UK aerospace manufacturing and through our modern Industrial Strategy, we, along with industry have committed to invest £3.9 billion in aerospace”

The company chose to highlight 13 UK-based suppliers who have partnered with Boeing on expansion in the UK.

Maher Ltd of Sheffield, a first-time supplier to Boeing, will supply bespoke steel bar and pre-machined components made of steel from Liberty Speciality Steels, three miles from the new factory.

Also recognised was MetLase Ltd, a first-time supplier to Boeing, which is based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Rotherham and which is a tooling and fixturing partner.

Coun Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council said: “The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is a world class facility at the heart of our region’s economy. It has seen fantastic success and we are delighted to be home to Boeing’s first European facility. Boeing Sheffield will manufacture more than 100 different components for its 737 and 767 aircraft here.

“Boeing Sheffield adds to some of the global names that are part of the AMRC and we have worked in partnership with Rotherham Council and the University of Sheffield for many years to develop our Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. We are committed to strengthening these partnerships to ensure we do what needs to be done to deliver on a scale where advanced manufacturing creates the high skill high wage manufacturing jobs in the numbers that will provide a strong base for our economy.

“One of our top priority is to provide the opportunities for young people in Sheffield. That’s why it is so welcome not only to see such globally-renowned brand like Boeing here, but their commitment to local apprentices who will make up much of the workforce and the opportunities they are offering for our young people to work for global engineering giants.”

Dan Jarvis, mayor of Sheffield City Region, said: “Boeing’s choice of location is a strong sign of confidence in our advanced engineering excellence, confidence in our workforce and strong manufacturing heritage, and confidence in the cutting-edge collaborations between university and business that enable us to lead the world.

“Boeing Sheffield will also be a key part of our region’s ‘Global Innovation Corridor’, creating a connected set of research and business interactions based on the advanced manufacturing and engineering strengths we have here in the region, and linking people, places and ideas. The opportunities for our communities, for businesses, for researchers and for the workforce of the future are limitless.

“This opening of this new facility is hugely significant for South Yorkshire, the wider Northern Powerhouse, and indeed for the UK.”

Boeing established a presence in South Yorkshire in 2001 when it co-founded the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with the University of Sheffield in Rotherham.

Boeing Sheffield stemmed from this relationship and its world-class research and development. The company has initiated a major new research programme with the AMRC to develop new manufacturing techniques that can be applied to the new Boeing Sheffield facility.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defence, space and security systems.

It employs more than 2,200 people across the UK, from Glasgow to Gosport, and contracts with more than 250 UK suppliers.

More than 29,000 people are employed as a result of Boeing U.K. operations, its purchases and the spending of those employed directly or in its supply chain.

In 2018 it celebrates 80 years of partnership with the United Kingdom, the Armed Forces, British manufacturing and the air transport industry.