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EVERETT, Wash. Boeing executives, along with state and local officials including Governor Jay Inslee, knocked holes in the wall of a one-story office building built to house engineers who once designed the first 767.

The holes are real, but the sledge hammer whacks were largely ceremonial as they marked the official start of construction of Boeing s massive composite wing factory for the new 777X airliner.

But while the company plans to tear down three buildings - one of which dates back to the design of the first 747 in the 1960s - work has already started.

In what was a large parking lot next door, heavy earth-moving equipment is already at work performing site preparation for the 1.3 million square foot factory that should be opened in 2016. What is to be called the Composite Wing Center should start producing its first part in 2017.

Boeing says some 90 dump trucks are making round trips every day, hauling some 70 loads of dirt into the site every hour to help level out the site. Some 80,000 cubic yards of dirt have been moved so far.

While some 190 construction workers are busy now, their ranks will swell to as many as 1,500 when construction is in full swing. Fourteen construction cranes will appear on Boeing s Everett campus.

Inside, the factory will house three of what are expected to be among the world s largest autoclaves that will bake the composite resin under pressure to its final strength. Composite material is a combination of layers of resin coated carbon fibre. Shafts for golf clubs, some light weight bicycle frames and some auto parts are also made with composite materials.


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