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Japan Finds No Major Problems With Dreamliner Battery Manufacturer

GS Yuasa Essentially Cleared By Japanese Transport Ministry

The company that made the battery which caught fire aboard a parked 787 Dreamliner has been essentially cleared by the Japanese Transport Ministry. Inspectors reportedly found no major issues on the production line that produced the lithium-ion cell.

The week-long inspection of the GS Yuasa plant turned up "no major quality or technical problems," according to a report from the French news service AFP.

The NTSB is investigating the battery fire aboard a JAL Dreamliner on January 7, but data from the FDR of an ANA flight which made an emergency landing on January 16th did not indicate there was a battery fire or a voltage surge to the cell during the flight.

ANA has reportedly been forced to cancel 838 flights through the middle of next month due to the worldwide grounding of the Dreamliner fleet. The airline was the launch customer for Boeing's all-composite airliner, receiving its first airplane in 2011.

The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reports that regulators are now concentrating on Kanto Aircraft Instruments, another Japanese company that manufactures the battery monitoring unit on the airplane.

Reuters reports that Airbus said in March 2012 there were potential problems with lithium-ion batteries during a forum for airline customers. They said the known issues with the batteries included a risk of explosion and fire, smoke, or thermal runaway. Airbus plans to use similar batteries in its A350 XWB. The European planemaker said it would closely study the findings of the Dreamliner battery investigation, and determine if they apply to their new airliner.

(NTSB image of battery from JAL 787)

FMI: www.mlit.go.jp/english

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