Construction begins at Boeing's $1 billion 777X wing plant

4 February 2015

Construction has started at Boeing's $1 billion 777X wing plant, after months of site preparation and thousands of dump truck trips.

The first steel is tangible evidence of the rapid progress Boeing (NYSE: BA) is making on this building, which will be a cornerstone of the 777X's advanced wing technology.

The building itself will be the largest single manifestation of Washington state's win of the 777X jet assembly. Boeing broke ground on the facility in a ceremony on Oct. 21.

New aerial photos show the first steel frameworks for the walls on the west side of the 1.3-million-square-foot structure, while large yellow cranes prepare to lift other steel truss structures into place.

The images show the vast size of the structure's footprint, dwarfing the Everett site headquarters buildings to the east.

Until recently the wing building site was primarily a sea of mud and dirt, with lines of dump trucks bringing in about 530,000 cubic yards of fill dirt to make the site level. Now that the site is moving into construction mode, the steel and walls will be rising rapidly.

The building will be the largest single structure under construction in Washington state this year. At its peak, the construction will employ 1,200 people, and consume 31,000 tons of steel and 170,000 tons of concrete.

When the new wing building is completed in 2016, workers will start fabricating the central parts of the 777X's new carbon composite wings there.

These wing structures will include skins and spars, primarily laid up by automated carbon tape-laying machines, and then cured in one of the facility's three 120-foot autoclaves. These are giant pressurized ovens that convert the fiber structures into finished parts.