Boeing Asked Automakers’ Advice on Lithium-Ion Battery Issue image

The supplier of lithium-ion batteries for Boeing’s 787s, tightened quality checks after the company asked advice from other companies which use this technology.

Boeing asked advice from GM, Ford, General Electric, United Technologies and other companies regarding technical expertise after battery issues grounded the global fleet of Dreamliners since January 16th. Therefore, battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. has doubled the number of tests on the batteries on the advice of a “Non-Advocate Review” panel that the planemaker set up with officials from some of the companies.

A quick solution is essential for the 49 Dreamliners to get back in the skies and also for Boeing to avoid penalties from the 8 airlines that operate the 787s and from those whose deliveries have been postponed for eight weeks now.

“The panel, along with engineers from Boeing, GS Yuasa and Thales SA identified improvements that could be made to the battery, the battery system and the airplane installation that would provide three distinct layers of protection,” said Marc Birtel, a spokesman at Boeing. “Among the items in this comprehensive set of solutions were improvements to the production process.”

While Boeing waits for a verdict from the Federal Aviation Administration, it is already assembling upgrade kits to fix the battery system a new plan including extra monitoring by pilots, increased separation of the cells in the battery and a stronger case with vents.