Washington aerospace supplier opens facility in North Charleston

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Liz Segrist
March 5, 2015

A Washington-based aerospace supplier has opened its North Charleston facility to assemble parts for the 787 Dreamliners made at Boeing South Carolina.

Senior Aerospace AMT’s expansion from Washington state to South Carolina helps “moves parts closer to Boeing South Carolina rather than shipping them from Arlington, Wash.,” according to Dan Guzman, AMT South Carolina’s general manager.

By being within seven miles of Boeing South Carolina’s campus off International Boulevard in North Charleston, AMT can provide just-in-time deliveries, Guzman said.

AMT makes and assembles structural components for the 787 Dreamliner, though Guzman declined to say the exact parts AMT makes for the commercial jet.

The components are currently machined and assembled in Washington state. Once AMT South Carolina is fully established, the components will continue to be machined in Washington and then will be shipped to South Carolina, where they will be assembled and delivered to Boeing South Carolina. The local Dreamliner campus produces the 787-8 and 787-9 and it will be the sole producer of the 787-10 in 2017.

AMT South Carolina occupies about 39,000 square feet in the 273,000-square-foot No. 4 building at Crosspoint, an industrial campus within Palmetto Commerce Park, according to Charleston Industrial broker in charge Mike White. AMT’s facility sits across the street from Boeing South Carolina’s propulsion and interiors centers.

Guzman plans a six-phase ramp-up of the facility. By July, Guzman plans to have 24 employees and all of the component assembly work for South Carolina-made Dreamliners moved to the local site.

“Our intent is to provide just-in-time service for parts and assemblies as they’re required,” Guzman said. “I see the ability to expand as we need to, depending on work packages awarded.”

AMT South Carolina celebrated a soft opening last week. Three employees transferred from Washington, including Guzman, and 12 assemblers were recently hired.

The new hires flew to Washington to work on AMT’s assembly lines to train for about five weeks. They also went through the ReadySC program, a state-run workforce initiative that trains employees on each company’s equipment and processes.

When Senior Aerospace AMT announced plans to open a North Charleston office in July, the company projected it would create 60 jobs over time.

AMT performs high-precision machine shop operations — such as three-, four- and five-axis machining, simple and complex assemblies and structural component work — for OEMs around the world.

Senior Aerospace AMT has five buildings and about 500 employees on its Washington campus. It is a division of United Kingdom-based Senior Plc.

Guzman said AMT South Carolina has the potential to grow as Boeing South Carolina grows, and if it receives other work from Boeing or manufacturers throughout the Southeast.

“Our focus and starting point is to support our largest customer in the area, and of course, that’s Boeing,” Guzman said.

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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