Mitsubishi, Boeing Investigate Suspect Metal Parts Shipments

 - October 10, 2017, 2:25 PM

Mitsubishi Aircraft and Boeing have each begun record reviews of their respective shipments of parts made with metal sourced from Japan’s Kobe Steel aluminum and copper business after the supplier reported that employees had improperly rewritten inspection certificates to reflect that they met minimum specifications. In a statement issued on October 8, Kobe Steel said the “improper conduct” came to light following self-inspection and emergency quality audits of the compliance status of products shipped between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017. The materials in question involve about 19,300 tons of flat rolled and extruded aluminum products; 2,200 tons of copper strips and tubes; and 19,400 tons of aluminum castings and forgings. Apart from Boeing and Mitsubishi, several automotive companies have also received shipments of the non-conforming parts.

Kobe said its own inspections have so far not revealed any specific problems that might cast doubt on the safety of the products in question. For its part, Mitsubishi said its investigation on each of the affected parts used in the MRJ have revealed no safety deficiencies and found that they meet all design standards. The company also said it would continue to fly the four MRJ flight-test articles and that it anticipates no effect on the program’s certification schedule.

Boeing, too, said its own analysis showed no reason to believe its shipments contained compromised material.

“Boeing has been working closely and continuously with our suppliers since being notified of the issue to ensure timely and appropriate action, including comprehensive inspections and analysis throughout our supply chain,” it said in a statement.

“Nothing in our review to date leads us to conclude that this issue presents a safety concern, and we will continue to work diligently with our suppliers to complete our investigation.”

Neither Boeing nor Mitsubishi would immediately identify which parts or materials their investigations involve.