ASIAN Composites Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (ACM), which has a factory at Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, is likely to increase production by 14% this year, sources said yesterday.
The plant, in which The Boeing Co has 25% equity, is likely to produce more aircraft wing parts.
The sources said that volume, measured in terms of production hours, was expected to go up by 50,000 hours this year.
The ACM plant currently operates at about 300,000 production hours annually.
ACM's other shareholders are Hexcel Corp of the United States and two local entities, Sime Darby Bhd and Naluri Bhd.
At present, the factory, which employs 310 Malaysians and has only one expatriate, makes advanced composite panels for the wings of the 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777 aircraft.
Composites are lightweight but high performance materials used for high-end aerospace, defence and industrial applications.
As composites became more sought after, the sources said, ACM would likely increase its production rate and range of products.
They said the ramped up production at ACM was part of Boeing's efforts to increase the value of its economic activities in Malaysia; and to see a world-class, high-tech production facility operating successfully in the country.
The sources said one other move being undertaken by Boeing to strengthen its economic presence in Malaysia was to help Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) engineering facility at Subang Airport be a certified modification centre for the installation of blended winglets on third-party aircraft.
The national aircraft carrier already has the expertise to undertake installation of blended winglets on its own aircraft, but certification for third party installation will enable MAS to add another income stream.
It is estimated that there are some 1,000 757 and 767-300 aircraft in the world without winglets, the installation of which would help improve fuel economy by 5%.
“Not all the 1,000 planes would come to Subang for refitting, but as one of the few maintenance, repair and overhaul centres in the world, there should be sizeable business (for MAS),” one of the sources said.
“Certification for MAS is expected in June this year, and we don't see any obstacles ahead. It will certainly add (value) to the local economy,” he added. – Bernama