Boeing’s impact on South Carolina’s manufacturing sector continues to grow with the addition of GKN Aerospace’s $20 million investment in Orangeburg County.
The company’s new 126,000-square-foot manufacturing facility will be located next to its existing property and produce inlet lip skins for the Boeing 737 MAX and 777X, generating more than 75 additional jobs.
Daniele Cagnatel, GKN Aerostructures North America Chief Executive Officer, said the company’s expansion in Orangeburg is directly tied to the recent acquisition of Sheets Manufacturing Inc.
“The new inlet lip skin production facility will meet Boeing’s needs for the 737 MAX and 777X,” he said. “The site is close to the Boeing Propulsion South Carolina facility, allowing GKN and Boeing to work collaboratively.”
With initial production scheduled for late 2016, GKN has begun hiring for the new positions and plans to recruit the majority of the personnel from the local area.
Gov. Nikki Haley said one the state’s top priorities in economic development was to ensure companies understand all that South Carolina’s rural counties have to offer. The new jobs created will make a difference in the state, she said.
Mike Brenan, Central SC Alliance Chairman, said Central South Carolina and Orangeburg County welcomed the first-tier aerospace supplier in 2011 with an initial announcement of $38 million and 250 new jobs.
“Today’s expansion announcement bodes another milestone for the stakeholders, workforce, and citizens of Orangeburg County and Central South Carolina,” he said.
In conjunction with the Boeing award, GKN recently acquired Sheets Manufacturing Inc. (SMI). SMI is a small privately held metallic spin forming company located in Camarillo, CA. SMI manufactures aircraft engine inlet lip skins with legacy program positions on the Boeing 747-8 and KC-46 tanker.
GKN will engineer and manufacture the engine inlet aluminum lip skins for Boeing using proprietary spin forming and post spin processes developed by SMI and enhanced by GKN’s industry recognized automated lean industrialization techniques. The lip skins offer a weight reduction and generate a laminar flow surface that reduces drag and improves aerodynamic performance.
The lip skins will be produced at the current Camarillo site and at a the new lip skin manufacturing facility in Orangeburg.