The Boeing 737 MAX 10. Photo CONTRIBUTED
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Boeing opens new innovation center at Georgia Tech

Aerospace giant Boeing announced Tuesday the opening of a new research center at Georgia Tech that the company said would help the company overcome technical hurdles in manufacturing.

Chicago-based Boeing, maker of military equipment and passenger airliners such as the 737 and 787 Dreamliner, said the new facility would pair Tech students and Boeing researchers on help implement industrial automation. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Tech and Boeing were in discussions about a possible research facility in March 2015.

“This advanced center will let Georgia Tech students collaborate with Boeing engineers to help drive the development of innovative factory automation solutions in aerospace,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer, said in a news release announcing the center.

The exterior of the Boeing 747-400, one of the jetmaker’s iconic aircraft, is shown during a preview of Delta’s 747 Experience in March. Kent D. Johnson/AJC
Photo: Kent Johnson/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Boeing Manufacturing Development Center will be located in Tech’s Delta Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility, a 19,000-square-foot center near the intersection of 14th Street and Northside Drive.

Boeing spokeswoman Janelle Bernales said in an email the facility would be staffed with two full-time engineers who “specialize in advanced production [and] inspection.” Discussions for the facility have progressed over the course of two years, she said.

In a post on Georgia Tech’s website, the university said Boeing’s new facility is the 17th innovation center on its campus.

Tech has aggressively pursued innovation labs from private industry as a way to bolster its research capabilities and attract new research dollars to supplement government funds. Panasonic, Southern Co., Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, Siemens and NCR are among the companies that have placed innovation labs at Georgia Tech.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 file photo, An engine and part of a wing from the 100th 787 Dreamliner to be built at Boeing of South Carolina's North Charleston, S.C., facility are seen outside the plant. The morning round of voting has concluded Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, among South Carolina Boeing workers considering if they want representation by a union. Nearly 3,000 production workers are eligible to vote in the election to determine if they'll be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. (Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier via AP, File)
Photo: Brad Nettles/The Post And Courier

The flurry of new research and development centers and corporate campuses in Midtown reflect the desire of companies to tap into Tech’s rich student and faculty talent. For Tech, the moves create a pipeline of jobs for graduates and possible private sector research dollars for the university at a time when federal research money is harder to find.

Last year, Tech and development partner Portman broke ground on a new office tower and high performance computing center called Coda that would have space for the university as well as private sector research.

Boeing has deep ties with Georgia Tech, including partnerships with engineering students, and Tech is one of Boeing’s 10 “primary strategic secondary schools,” which include Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Georgia boasts about 500 aerospace-related companies, including a Lockheed Martin manufacturing center in Marietta, and business jet giant Gulfstream employs more than 10,000 people between its headquarters in Savannah and in Brunswick.

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