BROUGHTON, UK—Like a cartoon space alien with a dome-like skull, an Airbus Beluga transport plane arriving from Madrid drops from the sky above this village 200 miles northwest of London and taxis to a stop with its front end tucked inside a large building off the runway. Its bulbous forehead pops open to disgorge massive wing panels—98 feet long and 20 feet wide—that will soon be assembled by sophisticated robots and about 800 people into the largest carbon-fiber composite wings now built for commercial aviation.
OAK RIDGE, TN—Engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created the world’s largest solid 3D-printed structure. Measuring 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall, the structure is a trim-and-drill fixture for manufacturing a component of the Boeing 777X passenger jet.
BEIJING—China’s first domestic manufacturer of jet engines, Aero Engine Corp. of China, has officially opened for business. The multibillion dollar conglomerate will employ some 100,000 people and incorporate subsidiaries of various state-owned firms, including the Aviation Industrial Corp. of China.
EVERETT, WA—The Boeing Co. is streamlining 767 production as it prepares to make more of the durable widebody jet in 2017. Boeing plans to increase the production rate for 767s from two a month to 2.5 planes a month next year.
DETROIT—Robotic glove technology developed out of a partnership between General Motors and NASA for use on the International Space Station is finding new life on Earth in health care, manufacturing and other industrial applications through a licensing agreement between GM and Bioservo Technologies AB, a Swedish medical technology company.