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The Boeing 747-8

Premier gets ready for the long-haul

As a tier two supplier to the aerospace industry St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK-based Premier is one of the UK's largest providers of specialist deep hole drilling, gun drilling and honing services. As the only deep hole machining specialist to be accredited to AS9100, the company's reputation in this demanding industry sector has seen it recently start a contract to supply actuators for the new Boeing 747-8 aircraft programme.

The new Boeing 747-8 will use the same engine and cockpit technology as its 787 airliner. Boeing says that the new design will be quieter, more economical, and more environmentally friendly than previous versions of the 747. As a derivative of the already common 747-400, the 747-8 has the economic benefit of similar training and interchangeable parts.

Premier's managing director, Stuart Grant, says: "We have worked with our customer to completely change the manufacturing process to incorporate deep hole drilling and machining on these actuators compared to the manufacturing process for the Boeing 777 equivalent components. This meant working with their designers, materials technologists and manufacturing engineers."

The new development of Boeing's largest airliner is notably in direct competition on long-haul routes with the Airbus A380, a full-length double-deck aircraft now in service. For operators seeking very large passenger airliners, the two have been pitched as direct competitors.

With 35 knowledgeable staff Premier Deep Hole Drilling operates an aerospace standard OTIF (On Time, In Full) system, which allows customers to monitor delivery performance. Stuart Grant explains: "Working with the customer on this project has generated a number of benefits. These include a much more reliable and robust process, scrap rates reduced by at least 90 per cent and delivery rates improved to better that 97 per cent OTIF."

Compared to the 747-400, the main technical changes on the 747-8 will be on the wing of the aircraft, with a complete design overhaul for improved aerodynamics. The sweep and basic structure is kept to contain costs, but the wing will be thicker and deeper with the passenger version being able to hold over 240,000 litres of fuel. Raked wingtips, similar to the ones currently on the 777 and 787 design, will replace the winglets on the 747-400. These structures help reduce the wingtip vortices at the lateral edges of the wings, decreasing wake turbulence and drag and thereby increasing fuel efficiency.

Some carbon fiber reinforced plastic will be used in the 747-8's airframe to reduce weight; however, structural changes will mostly be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The General Electric GEnx, one of the two powerplant choices currently offered for the 787, will be the only engine available for the 747-8. However, the 747 variant will be adapted to provide bleed air for conventional aircraft systems and feature a smaller diameter to fit on the 747 wing. The passenger version will be capable of carrying up to 467 passengers (51more than the 747-400) in a three-class configuration over 8,000 nautical miles at Mach 0.855.

The 747-8 Freighter is planned to enter service in 2009, while the passenger 747-8 Intercontinental is planned to be introduced in 2010.

Certified to BS EN ISO 9002 and accredited to the AS9100 aerospace standard, Premier has an extensive list of customer approvals. These include well-known aerospace companies such as Rolls-Royce, Goodrich, Messier-Dowty and GE Aviation, as well as various customers in other sectors, which include defence, oil & gas and motorsport.

Press release issued by Premier Deep Hole Drilling Ltd on September 8, 2008

 

 Contact details from our directory:
Premier Deep Hole Drilling Ltd Drilling Equipment, Boring & Drilling Services, Mechanical Actuators
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Airframer

 

 Related aircraft programs:
Boeing 747

 

 Related directory sectors:
Actuation

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