Does anyone have any information about what companies are suppling the composite materials for the Boeing 787? Or any idea where I could get this information.
Here’s what Mike Bair, 787 VP and GM, said on 6 July in a press briefing when asked the very same question. It's a Japanese company called Toray apparently....
Question: Felipe Dominguez from (??) Television. Could you tell us a little more about the carbon fibre composite and where it is used in this airplane and where was this technology developed?
Answer: Sure, so the fibres we are using in this airplane and there are a couple of different ones. They’re essentially all provided by Toray, which is a Japanese textile business that I think probably is turning out to be a fairly lucrative side-business providing composite material for the aerospace industry. So that’s the sole-source provider of the raw material that we’re using. It’s essentially a carbon fibre with a toughened epoxy resin that holds it all together. The material is -- I’m not sure exactly what the genesis of actually inventing the material is. We’ll have to check and find out.
We’ve had a lot of experience with it. We’ve used it for a number of years going back to 1984 when we put some horizontal tail fins on a few 737s and put them into service and then followed them to see in-service experienced. Those airplanes have ended their life. We’ve got the composite structure back and cut it up to look at it to see how it behaves so we could get a good understanding. And it started to build our confidence in how this material set would behave in service. It is the same material set that is used on the vertical and horizontal of the 777 and all the floor beams on the 777. So those have been in service now for 12 or so years. So, we’ve had really good service experience with it, so we’ve been slowly laying the groundwork that we needed to lay in order to build an entire airplane out of this material set. And three years ago we made the decision that it was time to do an entire airplane out of this material set.
And, I think, as a lot of you know it was never really an issue about whether we could technically build an airplane out of composites. The real issue was making sure we had a production system that could do it in a cost-effective manner. And that’s really been a lot of the focus that the team has been on, with some technical challenges obviously, but most of the focus has been on figuring out what is a production process that would allows us to efficiently build an all-composite airplane.
Excellent - thanks for that! I was getting no-where with Google.
In 2004, Boeing and TCA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for TCA to supply prepreg for Boeing’s new 7E7 Dreamliner (which would later be given the number designation of 787). Toray Industries agreed to supply Boeing with almost 3 billion dollars worth of carbon fiber over 17 years for use in their new 787 jetliner. Under that supply agreement, Toray became Boeing’s exclusive supplier of carbon fiber for this new airplane. Carbon fiber had been used in the tail section of the 777, but not in the wings and fuselage.
but hexcel also claims they did supply some