Boeing opens billion-dollar 777X wing factory

Image: 777X Wing Center opening
VIPs and workers gather for today’s grand opening of the 777X Composite Wing Center in Everett, Wash. The factory’s 120-foot-long autoclave is at right. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing is showing off the partially automated 777X Composite Wing Center it built at its campus in Everett, Wash. – the result of $1 billion in investment and 14 months of construction work.

Today’s grand opening brought together community leaders, executives and workers at the 1.3 million-square-foot factory, which is big enough to house 25 football fields. It’ll be a while before 777X production begins, however.

Boeing says it has received 320 orders and commitments so far for the wide-body plane, which can accommodate up to 425 passengers in its 777-9 configuration. The first delivery is targeted for 2020.

The 777X’s 114-foot-long wings will be built up from carbon composite material, layer by layer, with the aid of automated fiber placement machines from Electroimpact, based nearby in Mukilteo. The composite pieces will be trimmed and cooked to completion in a 120-foot-long oven known as an autoclave.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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