The first Kawasaki Heavy Industries to take on the challenge of manufacturing aircraft components in the U.S.

Publish Date2017.11.30

KMM was the first Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to become an airplane components manufacturing plant in the United States. Familiarization training for the full-scale manufacturing of the Boeing 777 X's cargo door is ongoing, and the plethora of achievements of Kawasaki Production System (KPS) in KMM is leveraged as the foundation for the challenge.

Manufacturing cargo doors for Boeing 777X

I entered Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) in 1991, and have been part of the aircraft manufacturing division. I transferred to KMM in 2016, and am currently supervising the “aircraft division.”

KMM was the first KHI to become an aircraft component manufacturing plant in the U.S. Familiarization training for the full-scale manufacturing of the Boeing 777 X’s cargo doors is ongoing.

We developed a new plant for aircraft components in KMM because we judged that, taking into consideration the manufacturing structure of Boeing, we didn’t necessarily have to open one in Seattle, where Boeing is based. We thereby thought the plethora of achievements of KMM’s Kawasaki Production System (KPS), which is based on the idea of thoroughly eliminating inefficiency, can be leveraged as the foundation of the challenge.

Cargo doors are already being manufactured at KHI’s Gifu Works. KMM, however, is aiming at even more advanced manufacturing by making use of automatic riveters. When making holes with a riveter, high precision that can keep size fluctuation to within plus/minus 0.1 mm and angle fluctuation to within plus/minus 2 degrees is required.

We introduced the automatic riveters in order to maintain a higher quality and reduce costs. However, even at our Gifu Works, automatic riveters are not used for complicated structures like cargo doors, and KMM workers are enduring ongoing difficulties in the new verification of work processes and in mastering their skills.

In addition to the support staff from Japan, 11 other workers were chosen from internal open recruitment. They, of course, are already familiar with KPS, and equipped with a high level of competency.

We will achieve a higher quality and cost reduction under the KPS philosophy through the concerted efforts of KMM members. Also, we would like to win over the trust of our client, Boeing, and steadily enhance our technical skills with sights set on receiving orders for components for their new aircrafts and their manufacturing.

Contributing to the next generation’s skies

The 777X is the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, with 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition.

The 777X family includes the 777-8 and the 777-9—both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences.

In addition, the 777X will bring cabin innovations and improved levels of passenger comfort.

General Manager, Aerospace Division
Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. (KMM)
Koichi Matsui
Share this article