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Investigators descend on Dreamliner battery maker in Japan

January 21, 2013|By David Colker
  • The GS Yuasa in Kyoto, Japan, made the lithium-ion batteries used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. Investigators were at the plant Monday as part of a probe into problems with the high-tech jets that led to them being grounded.
The GS Yuasa in Kyoto, Japan, made the lithium-ion batteries used in the… (Associated Press )

Battery maker GS Yuasa has suddenly become the focus of international attention -– but not in a way it wanted.

Yuasa, based in Japan, made the lithium ion batteries used in the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. A fire and overheating of those batteries were among the chief recent problems with the jets, leading to them being grounded around the world.

Japanese and U.S. investigators were at Yuasa’s plant in Kyoto on Monday, according to Bloomberg News. It was part of a probe into a fire on a Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines and an overheated battery that forced an emergency landing of another of the jets flown by All Nippon Airways.

Officials from the U.S.' Federal Aviation Administration were among those that were at the plant, the report said. A spokesman for Yuasa, Tsutomu Nishijima, said the company was cooperating with the probe.'

FULL COVERAGE: Boeing's troubled Dreamliner

Shigeru Takano, an official with the Civil Aviation Bureau in Japan, was quoted as saying, “We’re checking parts and the manufacturing process to ensure work was carried out appropriately.”

Over the weekend, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it had been determined that the battery that caught fire on a JAL Dreamliner “did not exceed its designated voltage,” according to a statement by the agency.

The fire occurred while the jet was on the runway at Logan International Airport in Boston.

The NTSB said that further examination of that battery and other components will continue at a facility in Arizona and at a Boeing facility in Seattle.

Yuasa got its first order from Boeing in 2005, Bloomberg said.  Last year, the company won a contract to provide batteries to the International Space Station.

In addition to the battery problems, Dreamliners also had recent fuel spills. 

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Boeing faces battles: fixing Dreamliner and winning back fliers

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