Saturday , November 15, 2014 - 10:18 AM
CLEARFIELD — A contract between ATK and the Boeing Co. will bring hundreds of jobs to the area in the next few years.
ATK recently completed qualification to manufacture advanced composite primary structures for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
“It will continue our long history of manufacturing other Boeing products,” said ATK Aerospace Structures Senior Communications Manager Bryan Warren.
Through the contract, ATK Aerospace Structures will be working on three sections of the new plane in the center and aft fuselages.
Work on the 787 Dreamliner will be done at the ATK’s new manufacturing clean room at the Freeport Center in Clearfield.
“To us,” Warren said, “it means we are going to be able to employ more Utah residents for a long period of time.”
Composites have been around for decades, with manufacturers seeking new and lighter materials. As commercial and military aircraft manufacturers slowly move away from metal, composites find themselves increasingly in demand.
ATK started working with composites 60 years ago, Warren said, first using them in rocket motor casings in the 1950s.
With that expertise, the company is also producing similar work on the Airbus A350 XWB. It also is using composites on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
ATK is able to work on the projects because it can build the parts at a rapid pace.
High quality parts manufactured quickly is key, Warren said.
“It is because of our manufacturing innovations,” Warren said, “that our automated process allows us to complete manufacturing composite parts very quickly.”
With their lighter weights and new materials, these are the aircraft of the future, or at least, very much of the present.
These aircraft will be in use for the next 10 to 20 years, Warren said.
However, aside from aircraft structures, the company hopes to apply its work on composites to space launch systems and satellites.
To meet the demand, ATK plans to add 100 employees in 2015, 200 in 2016 and another 200 in 2017.
ATK currently employs about 1,000 at its Clearfield facility. By 2017, it hopes to have about 3,500 employees in Utah.
Company officials said their goal is to bring 1,000 additional jobs to Utah in the next 20 years.
Warren said much of it will be at its Clearfield facility.
To train future employees, ATK is working with the Davis Applied Technology College and Salt Lake Community College to help support a composite manufacturing curriculum.
Between the commercial and military aircraft projects, ATK Composite Structures expects to be busy in the next few decades.
Contact Jesus Lopez Jr. at 801-625-4239 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jesuslopezSE and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/JesusLopezSE.
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