Facility will fabricate wing flap actuation components for commercial aircraft

OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA -  A Mandelli machine at Boeings plant in Gresham uses a robot to pluck the correct milling spindle and put them into place to fashion a wing component.The Boeing Fabrication facility in Gresham will begin to produce new systems designed to improve production efficiency, reduce cost and support manufacturing in the United States.

"It's not a common thing for Boeing to reverse and bring work systems internally," said Don Hendrickson, program manager for Boeing Portland.

"This is consistent with our strategy to protect intellectual property and drive costs down in our products."

The facility will now manufacture and assemble flap actuation systems for the NEXT Generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 — expanding the previous work statement for the company's commercial airplane production. These components used to be manufactured and assembled by third-party suppliers outside of the country.

While doing the work in-house won't generate new jobs, it will stabilize the workforce and deter any need for shrinking in the future.

"The Portland site has had a significant run of strong performance," Hendrickson said. "This is recognition for the entire team that we were chosen to do this."

Trailing edge actuation systems are responsible for extending and retracting an airplane's wing flaps during different phases of flight. The flaps add lift to enable takeoff, assist in landing at lower speeds and provide drag to help slow down airplanes. Boeing Portland is the only Boeing location in the U.S. creating these systems.

Boeing Portland employs more than 1,600 people at the 87-acre site located at 19000 N.E. Sandy Blvd. It also serves as the Center of Excellence for complex machining, gear systems and flight controls.

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