LINCOLN, Neb. — Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing’s new aerospace division in Nebraska opened this week.

The new division at Kawasaki’s Lincoln plant held its grand opening Thursday, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/2qErU7M ) reported. The company spent $12.6 million to convert the 30,000 square-foot (2787.07 sq. meter) space to be able to produce cargo doors for the new Boeing jet.

Most of the money was spent on machinery to automate the production process, including a robotic painting machine. Vice president and plant manager in Lincoln, Mike Boyle, said an automatic riveting machine will be able to add rivets to the doors in about 20 seconds.

The company expects to add about 50 workers to the Lincoln facility for the Boeing work. The Lincoln facility employs about 2,000 people. The facility also makes train cars, personal watercraft, ATVs and utility vehicles.

Although production began earlier this month, finished cargo doors won’t be shipped until January, Boyle said. The company is going through a rigorous qualification program to manufacture the doors for the Boeing 777X.

Jason Clark, vice president of operations for the 777X, said the plane can carry more than 400 passengers and has a range of 8,000 miles (12,874 kilometers).

Boyle said he’s optimistic the cargo-door project will lead to additional work for Boeing in the future.

“We’re getting our feet wet right now with Boeing,” Boyle said. “We hope if things work out, we’ll be considered for more.”


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com