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14 October 2012
Airbus is expanding its footprint in the USA. Spirit AeroSystems developing and qualifying new composite supplier in Idaho for A350 XWB.
Airbus is expanding production in the USA and Carleen Brubaker, a supplier development director for Airbus Americas Inc., recently visited Idaho/Hayden-based Unitech Composites and Structures, which is completing a rigorous certification process to supply Airbus. “We’re growing through the entire U.S.,” Brubaker said, noting that Airbus spent $6 billion in this country last year alone and has about 700 U.S. suppliers. “Things are looking very good in aerospace.”
Airbus expects to spend even more over the next 5 to 10 years, with a new final assembly line being built in Mobile-Alabama for A320Neo.
Competition for qualified suppliers is intense, and Airbus is turning to companies like Unitech to help supply parts for assembly of its next-generation A350 XWB.
Unitech Composites and Structures is a Tier2 for Spirit AeroSystems.
Unitech is close to gaining final approval to supply parts to Spirit AeroSystems, which builds a section of the fuselage and some wing components for the A350 in Kinston, N.C.
The rigorous certification also will position Unitech to supply other Airbus aircraft, such as the A320 planes to be assembled at a plant being built in Mobile, Ala.
Unitech President Rick Hundley said he sees “tremendous opportunity for growth” with Airbus and its other suppliers. Unitech already has purchase orders in hand from Spirit to produce 37 parts for the A350, he noted. Unitech manufactures about 1,200 parts for Boeing 787.
“This is just an incredible opportunity,” he said. “It could really change the face of this business.”
Unitech Composites and Structures began as a mom-and-pop startup in Hayden more than 30 years ago, and has grown into a major Northwest supplier of composite parts for the aerospace industry with 130 employees. Tucked into five buildings at the Coeur d’Alene Airport, Unitech Composites and Structures produces and ships 14,000 airplane parts per month. Much of the fabrication happens in the controlled environment of clean rooms using materials such as Kevlar, fiberglass and phenolics. About 40% of its business is military orders, and the rest is for commercial aircraft.
Based on article "Inland Northwest aerospace poised for takeoff"Published in The Spokesman Review