Several recent developments show that China is becoming much more involved in the production of commercial aircraft, including new aluminum alloys for use in such large planes as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing recently signed a collaboration agreement with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) in several areas for enabling commercial aviation industry growth in China. The companies will collaborate with Chinese universities and research institutions to expand knowledge of sustainable aviation biofuels, aviation connectivity infrastructure, and other areas, to improve energy efficiency or reduce carbon emissions in commercial aviation. Each research project will be jointly selected and funded.
China is increasing manufacturing of large aircraft and of aluminum-lithium alloys for use in the airframe structures of large planes, such as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, shown here landing in Mexico City for the first time on March 7, 2012. (Source: Boeing)
Part of the agreement includes the creation of the Boeing-COMAC Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Center in Beijing. Funded by both companies, the center will support research projects to increase the fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"Our hope is that innovative emissions-reduction technologies developed through the Boeing-COMAC Center will advance aviation in China and around the world," said Marc Allen, president of Boeing China, in a press release.
China is considered to be one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets. The country's Civil Aviation Administration has forecast that passenger traffic in China in 2012 will exceed 300 million, and reach 1.5 billion in 2030. Boeing has estimated that Chinese airlines will need to buy 5,000 new airplanes by 2030 to meet this demand.
@sensorpro: Aluminum isbeing produced in the U.S., and scientists in the U.S.are working on developing lighter and stronger aluminum alloys. In fact, Chinese scientists in the U.S. are working on developing lighter and stronger aluminum alloys. Particularly when it comes to research, I don't think innovation in one country is an impediment to innovation in another country. It's not a zero-sum game.
In my opinion your statement is very purist. It is nice and dandy to have partners in other parts of the world, however do not forget who these partners are. Not all are our friends in heart. With all the problems of Chinese stealing secrets from numerous coutries, serious drive to increase and make stronger their military, air force and navy, does california really need to buy steel from them. Can't we find scientists in US to work on lighter and more durable Aluminum. Don't we have refinaries that can produce it?!
We need to stop looking for fast savings by moving abroad, and should start supporting our own industries.Not always the basic commercial interest should take over the decision process.
I do feel that we are loosing our knowhow and industrial power to other countries, and it is not smart.
The world doesn't revolve around the United States. China is a huge and growing market, and aerospace companies would be foolish to ignore it. There is also a tremendous amount of talent in Chinese universities and research institutions, not to mention money for research. Boeing and Bombardier are engaging in these partnerships because they clearly think it is in their commercial interest to do so.
A lot of people seem to be saying that the Chinese only know how to copy, not how to innovate; that the quality of Chinese products is always inferior; that the Chinese are avaricious and can't be trusted, etc.
Besides being completely unfair generalizations, these are also the same things which people in Britain and Germany said about the U.S. in the 1800s.
Research into how to make commercial aircraft more fuel efficient, develop improved lightweight aluminum alloys, etc. is a good thing, no matter what country it takes place in.
I have to admit that I'm also a little leery of sharing technology with a government and society that has such a horrible history of ignoring intellectual property and copyright laws. Both consumer and semiconductor sectors are flooded with pirated goods and I shudder to think that these same companies will be manufacturing aircraft and avionics with the blessing of Boeing. This is one of the few industries where the US still has a strong presence, and I hate to think that we would give away the keys to the kingdom for a little instant profit.
Beth, I'm completely with you on this and have the same concerns. I've often heard it said that China can manufacture really good quality products or really low-quality products, depending on what they are asked to do and how much they are paid. That's true in general of contract manufacturing. However, for things like airplanes and baby's formula I think there's a lot of cause for concern with how strictly, and consistently, quality standards are enforced.
Cheaper source of manufacturing, maybe, but what about quality issues. Given the track record regarding poor quality for simple things like children's toys and food products, I'm not so sure I'd want to get on an aircraft produced in a factory that isn't governed by the same viligent standards that the U.S. and other countries uphold.
I agree with you TJ, China's dismal record on IP rights makes all this sound like it may be good for Boeing in the short term and not so good for the US in the long term, whether this becomes a new source of cheaper aircraft for Boeing or not.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
As we saw on the show floor this week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., 3D printing is contributing to distributed manufacturing and being reinvented by engineers for their own needs. Meanwhile, new fasteners are appearing for wearable consumer and medical devices and Baxter Robot has another software upgrade.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.