national

Japan probe comes up empty on Dreamliner battery problems

18 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
Login to comment

If it happens one more time in the next year, force Boeing to ground the entire fleet to replace all the batteries with safer ni-cad ones. If Boeing whines about lost profits, remind it of the subversive and radical idea that passengers' safety comes before profits.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I find it hard to believe the best technicians are unable to find the root cause of the problem. If they suspect short circuiting is the cause, then you can pinpoint what is causing that short circuit. Maybe politics is having an influence of the trouble shooting results?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Its simple, GS Yuasa's quality control was less than stellar. They delivered defective batteries in the initial batch. If you notice, there have not been any battery issues since the original spate. I'm sure Boeing was not a happy camper and explained the realities of loosing millions of dollars over battery technology that has been around for awhile.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There are safer Lithium based batteries out there. NiCd is not an option. LiFePO4 and I believe there is a manganese version also.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since the batteries and battery systems were designed and made in Japan, it is no surprise that the report found no fault.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Despite the troubles, the aircraft remains popular. This week Ethiopian Airlines agreed to buy 20 Boeing 737 aircraft

Don't you mean 787 ? (Otherwise, I don't understand the "rapport")

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Riffraff

"GS Yuasa's quality control was less than stellar"

I said it 100 times already and I will say it again. Boeing is responsible for making sure that all the components work correctly. They have failed again, again and again. Suppliers only make parts based on specifications requested by Boeing. And suppliers can't test the entire airplane, only Boeing can, and they have failed miserably.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I said it 100 times already and I will say it again. Boeing is responsible for making sure that all the components work correctly. They have failed again, again and again. Suppliers only make parts based on specifications requested by Boeing. And suppliers can't test the entire airplane, only Boeing can, and they have failed miserably.

Except that the main problem with the plane is related to a handful of batteries out of a few thousand, all of which were made by Yuasa. I used to work in a shop which made airplane engine parts, and we were respondble for testing and certifying each and every component before it was shipped to GE. As suppliers, we were also responsible if any of the parts we supplied were defective, not just GE or Boeing.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Elon Musk offered his services to unravel this riddle for Boeing gratis and was rebuffed all around. That smacks of a politically managed investigation which was seeking neither forensic explanations nor recommendations on improving safety or technologies. The experience www.spacex.com has assembled in battery technologies might have contributed to improving air travel safety for all Boeing passengers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since the batteries and battery systems were designed and made in Japan, it is no surprise that the report found no fault.

so USTSB are also "in" on it? since they too have also been unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the battery failure. puh-lease.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It hasn't been an issue since the fix, so it seems it has something to do with that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Geez... a Japan probe finds nothing wrong with parts made by a Japanese company (that denies any responsibility for any faults in its product), and all for a finished product that Japanese companies rushed to be number one possessors of. Wonders never cease.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Except that the main problem with the plane is related to a handful of batteries out of a few thousand, all of which were made by Yuasa. I used to work in a shop which made airplane engine parts, and we were respondble for testing and certifying each and every component before it was shipped to GE.

Do you have any evidence that Yuasa didn't do that?

As suppliers, we were also responsible if any of the parts we supplied were defective, not just GE or Boeing.

Do you have any evidence that the Yuasa parts were defective? No investigation has managed to show that yet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I expected as much. These two incidents appear to be coincidental rather than an indication of a flawed design.

Japan isn't the only one who can't find a cause. The NTSB has not had any further action in their investigation since August of last year - when they posted the two days-worth of transcripts from the hearings held back in APRIL of last year. They ARE still keeping the investigation open, though. Maybe they are hoping for another battery failure that would shed light on the cause?

Despite the troubles, the aircraft remains popular. This week Ethiopian Airlines agreed to buy 20 Boeing 737 aircraft in a deal worth $2.1 billion.

Don't you mean 787 ? (Otherwise, I don't understand the "rapport")

No, Ethiopian Airlines ordered 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8's. The only thing I can figure is that the writer of the article meant to say, "...the aircraft manufacturer remains popular."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't think the battery design was faulty but battery cells are becoming too hot and cover was burned out when battery power was continue heavily used during the flight. Simply the lithium battery is unsuitable for use in plane like Dreamliner.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kobuta ChanSep. 27, 2014 - 04:13AM JST Simply the lithium battery is unsuitable for use in plane like Dreamliner.

In the past, Boeing has outsourced manufacturing but maintained tight control over design. In that way, Boeing was able to make sure that the pieces that other companies made would fit together well because Boeing engineers understood what each part would do and how they would interact when the plane was flying. But with the 787, Boeing departed from this approach. Instead, to save money and supposedly to boost quality and speed time to market, Boeing outsourced two-third (highest ever) of the design and manufacture to suppliers. But it also meant that each supplier of, say, the wings or the batteries that supplied power to the engines or auxiliary systems, would use their own approach to both the design and the manufacture. Boeing assumed that its suppliers would share its commitment to quality and meeting ambitious delivery deadlines, but this did not happen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sfjp330: Boeing assumed that its suppliers would share its commitment to quality and meeting ambitious delivery deadlines, but this did not happen.

"Quality" and "meeting ambitious delivery deadlines" are often contradictory.

Boeing had a similar problem in the 80's and 90's with rudder control units built by a supplier, Parker Hannifin Corp. Two or three known accidents, 187 or 291 known deaths, depending on whether Silkair 185 accident in Indonesia is attributed to rudder failure or pilot suicide. In fact, in the 80's Parker Hannifin took a control unit from an aircraft that had a rudder control incident, tested it and decided it couldn't have had a problem, and had it installed on a different aircraft which then had its own rudder control incident (p. 275 of FAA report at PDF link, which notes that Parker Hannifin didn't report the 80's incidents to the NTSB until 1999).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_rudder_issues

http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/1999/AAR9901.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fadamor wrote: ||These two incidents appear to be coincidental rather than an indication of a flawed design.||

The law on product defect distinguishes DESIGN defects from MANUFACTURING defects. The battery DESIGN is not strongly at issue in these incidents. The battery MANUFACTURING is at issue. Manufacturing DEFECT typically involves either materials quality control error or assembly error, and sometimes component installation error or subsequent damage sustained after manufacturing due to negligence (like dropping the thing). A properly manufactured lithium ion battery used under properly controlled environmental conditions is not subject to spontaneous combustion. Therefore combustion (overheating) must be attributed to a MANUFACTURING defect of some kind (or sabotage). Whether that defect can be identified by the investigators or not there should be a scientific explanation presented at least speculatively. However, since no significant passenger injuries occurred, this is now just a matter of economic losses to be reconciled commercially between YUASA and BOEING. There is no need to finger blame (responsibility) as doing so is not going to improve future air travel safety. Good lessons were learned about the risks of using batteries in aerospace applications without rigorous quality control testing. Elon Musk probably tried to bring this point to light at the outset.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites