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Boeing expands Toray carbon fiber contract

Boeing Inc. has expanded its contract with Toray Industries to supply composite materials for the upcoming 777X wings.

Japan’s Toray Industries already supplies carbon fiber used by Chicago-based Boeing to make wings for its 787 Dreamliner.

The companies did not put a value on the contract expansion, however, Reuters reported the deal could be worth $8.6 billion.

“(Toray’s) understanding of the technology is outstanding, but they also know there is much more we can do with composites in aerospace if we work together to improve the performance, processing and economics,” Boeing chief technology officer John Tracy said in a news release. “Toray is working with us on that and we are happy to expand their work statement to include the 777X.”

Boeing said it now has contracts in place for more than 75 percent of the major structural material for the 777X, which will be made in Everett, Washington. Production is set to begin in 2017, with delivery beginning in 2020. The company has orders for at least 260 orders the plane, which is billed as 12 percent more fuel efficient than rival Airbus’s A350.

Boeing inked a deal in June for five Japanese companies to make several key components for the 777X. The Japanese manufacturers will make about 21 percent of the new plane’s structural components, including fuselage sections and landing gear wells.

The company said it spent more than $4 billion on goods and services in Japan in 2013 and the expanded contract with Toray will add $36 billion in spending there by the end of the decade.