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Tue, Jan 22, 2013

Japanese Battery Plant Inspected By Japanese, U.S. Aviation Officials

Looked At Manufacturing Processes For Dreamliner Batteries

Aviation safety officials from the U.S. and Japan spent time Monday touring the GS Yuasa factory where the battery which overheated in an ANA Dreamliner was manufactured. Since that incident, and others, all 50 Dreamliners which have been delivered by Boeing have been grounded, and deliveries have stopped, though assembly of the airplanes is continuing.

Yuasa is cooperating with the investigation, according to the Associated Press. The session Monday included a meeting with company officials and a factory tour, according to the chief airworthiness engineer of the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau’s Aviation Safety Department, Tatsuyuki Shimazu. Shimazu said it has yet to be determined if there is any issue with the manufacture of the Dreamliner batteries. "We are in the midst of collecting information," he said.

Data from the airplane shows that the battery in the ANA Dreamliner was supplied voltage in excess of its design limits, but it was also determined that a battery which caught fire aboard a JAL Dreamliner at Boston Logan International Airport was not overcharged. The NTSB indicated  that there could be issues with the wiring and charging systems for the lithium ion batteries.

The NTSB will meet Tuesday with  representatives of Securaplane Technologies, the company which makes those charging systems, at their headquarters in Tucson, AZ. Shubhayu Chakraborty, president of Securaplane, told Reuters that so far, his company was not involved involved in the investigation despite the planned visit by the NTSB. But, he said, should the company become involved, "we will support it fully."

(NTSB image of damaged battery from JAL Dreamliner)

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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