Boeing's 787 Dreamliner close to arrival
That’s what most people in the airline and air freight business are saying following news that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is close to arrival.
Nippon Airways will serve as the Dreamliner’s launch customer on the long-range, wide-bodied jet that some are predicting could revolutionize the air transport industry.
The Dreamliner has seen several delays in production since the idea was initially conceived in 2003. First flights were delayed three months twice in 2007, and a six-month delay to delivery was announced that same year due to supply chain problems.
A third three-month delay to first flight was announced in January of 2008, with supply chain woes once again contributing to the setbacks. A fourth delay was announced three months later in April, and a fifth was announced in November.
With 835 orders worth about $163 billion from more than 50 customers, Boeing needs to make sure its supply chain is functioning at its highest level to meet what is expected to be a skyrocketing demand for the Dreamliner.
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Boeing is going to try to ramp up its production by adding an unprecedented amount of supply chain visibility to the equation. The aircraft manufacturer is hoping to see output climb 40 percent between now and the end of 2013 by producing 10 Dreamliners per month by 2013.
The company is still sold out of the 787 Dreamliner through 2019, which is contingent on Boeing meeting its lofty production goals.
“When they actually release that 787 for production ... there’ll be a big surge in demand and right now I think the entire marketplace of subcontractors that support that build are skeptical,” Michael Hartnett, chief executive of Boeing-supplier RBC Bearings told the Financial Times.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany