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Supply chain bonanza: Tool firm signs mega deal with Boeing Sheffield

Boeing executives Dave Hyem, Don Hendrickson and James Needham (centre) with Gary Williamson and Tony Bowkett of Nikken.
Boeing executives Dave Hyem, Don Hendrickson and James Needham (centre) with Gary Williamson and Tony Bowkett of Nikken.

A tools company in Rotherham has signed a multi-million pound deal to supply the new Boeing factory in Sheffield – as the benefits start to flow into the supply chain.

Nikken has signed a long – term agreement to supply ‘high-precision tool holders, cutting tools and tool presetting solutions’.

The �20m factory on Europa View will be open in September.

The �20m factory on Europa View will be open in September.

The firm, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, is also working with Boeing’s engineering team to optimise processes.

Boeing is building its first factory in Europe on Sheffield Business Park. It will make parts for actuators – the motors that move wing flaps – and gear boxes for the 737 and 777.

Nikken chief executive Tony Bowkett said: “This is a very proud moment for the Nikken European team, resident here on the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

“We have worked tirelessly to put together a total support solution that will allow the Boeing engineers to produce upwards of 10,000 parts per month, supporting its Portland facility in the USA.

“It’s a great opportunity for our engineering and logistics teams to integrate world-class machine tools and equipment and to use their knowledge and experience to optimise their performance, resulting in productivity and efficiency gains.”

Other local firms benefiting from the project include builders JF Finnegan, project managers Turner and Townsend, consultants Mott MacDonald and Billington Steel.

In January Boeing hosted a ‘meet the buyer’ event for firms that could supply ‘anything from sprinkler systems to sandwiches’.

The new factory will cost £20m, of which £5.5m has come from the taxpayer via the Sheffield City Region organisation.

It will employ 30, including 18 apprentices, when it opens in September and be part of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ fabrication operations.

It will work with Boeing Portland where planes are assembled. General manager Dave Hyem visited Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The firm chose Sheffield due to its longstanding partnership with the AMRC.