Boeing expands production in a new £20m UK site, the company’s first such facility in Europe.

Boeing’s investment of over £20 million in a new facility, to begin in-house manufacturing of key actuation components and systems in the UK for its commercial aircraft, will enhance quality-control, production efficiency and reduce supply-chain costs.

Boeing Sheffield will be built alongside The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC), a world-class machining and materials research campus founded by Boeing and the University of Sheffield.

The successful collaboration between industry and academia has seen significant investment into research and development of new manufacturing techniques over the last 16 years. The opening of Boeing Sheffield has built on the strength of the Boeing-University of Sheffield relationship and capitalises on the talent and infrastructure in South Yorkshire.

“This is the culmination of a successful relationship that reinforces our region as a leading location for high-value advanced manufacturing. We look forward to supporting Boeing and continuing to ensure UK manufacturers remain competitive, through access to our expertise here at the AMRC,” said Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, Executive Dean of the AMRC.

The brand new facility, Boeing Sheffield, covering 2,300-square metres, will produce actuators in Boeing’s first manufacturing facility in Europe, due to open in 2018, subject to planning permission. It will support global growth and competitiveness for the world’s largest aerospace company, enable access to UK talent and capability, opening up further opportunities for local suppliers to bid for work.

Boeing’s partnership with the University of Sheffield began in 2001. Together Boeing and the University have leveraged their joint expertise to develop 21st century advanced manufacturing techniques. These have been applied across the UK aerospace industry and then on into other sectors, such as automotive, driving technology and employment benefits in South Yorkshire and beyond, across the UK and the world.

“The UK provides Boeing with the talent and infrastructure we need to grow and maintain a high level of productivity and quality to meet our significant order book. We are proud to expand our relationship with the UK still further with Boeing Sheffield. Our decision to start manufacturing high-value components in the UK is a step-change in our engagement and a further example of Boeing’s commitment to grow here, supporting the UK’s long-term prosperity,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and Managing Director of Boeing UK and Ireland.

The Sheffield site will manufacture actuation systems for Boeing’s Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 aircraft. These components extend and retract the wing flaps during different phases of flight. The flaps add lift to enable take-off and landing at lower speeds and provide drag to help slow the aircraft.

Boeing Sheffield will employ approximately 30 people when it opens as part of Boeing Commercial Airplane’s Fabrication operations and work closely with Boeing Portland, a company centre of excellence for complex machining, gear systems and flight controls.

Boeing expects to recruit employees for the site as early as 2018, capitalising on the skilled workforce in Sheffield as well as the AMRC’s capabilities. There are further plans for a major R&D programme with the AMRC to develop new manufacturing techniques applicable to Boeing Sheffield.

The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will support the R&D programme through the provision of grant funding, subject to agreeing the formal terms and conditions of that funding.