Boeing Commercial Airplanes plans to open its first manufacturing operation in Europe at Sheffield, England, as early as 2018, to perform complex machining of gear systems and flight controls for the Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, and 777 aircraft.

The parts are described as actuation devices on the trailing edge of aircraft wings. Trailing edge actuation systems are responsible for extending and retracting wing flaps during different phases of flight. The flaps add lift that allow take-off and landing at lower speeds, and provide drag to help slow the aircraft.

The project represents a capital investment of £20 million (est. $24.8 million, according to a Boeing announcement), and is part of a plan by Boeing to begin in-house manufacturing of “key actuation components and systems” in the U.S. and U.K. to improve production efficiency and lower supply-chain costs.

“The U.K. provides Boeing with the talent and infrastructure we need to grow and maintain a high level of productivity and quality to meet our significant order book,” stated Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing U.K. and Ireland.

A Boeing component finishing plant at Portland, Ore., also will be outfitted produce actuators and assemble actuation systems for 737s and 777s.

The approximately 25,000-sq.ft. Sheffield operation will be built near The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, a machining and materials research campus founded in 2001.

Boeing added it plans to initiate a “major research and development program” with the AMRC, to develop new manufacturing techniques that can be applied at the new Boeing Sheffield operation.

“Boeing Sheffield is an investment in manufacturing that will benefit our customers by driving improvements in quality and efficiency,” stated Jenette Ramos, v.p. and general manager of Boeing Fabrication. “The expanded fabrication capability will grow our existing operations and strengthen our global services.”