Boeing has announced that it is in the last stages of testing and production readiness verification of a new method for building 777 using equipment it has dubbed Fuselage Automated Upright Build, or FAUB.
Boeing indicates that the advanced manufacturing automation technology will improve workplace safety and increase product quality. Boeing says that more than half of all injuries on the 777 program have occurred during the phase of production that is being automated.
The technology has been in development by Boeing since 2012.
Fuselage sections will be built using automated, guided robots that will fasten the panels of the fuselage together, drilling and filling the more than approximately 60,000 fasteners that are now installed by hand.
“This is the first time such technology will be used by Boeing to manufacture widebody commercial airplanes and the 777 program is leading the way,” said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager, 777 program and Everett site, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We’re excited to continue improving the production process here and we’re positioning ourselves to begin building 777X airplanes in the future.”
Testing of FAUB for the 777 program has already begun at a facility in Anacortes, Washington, Boeing states, and the aircraft manufacturer is making production readiness preparations to install the system in Everett in a new part of the main factory that is now under construction. Boeing expects to implement FAUB in the next few years.
The robotic system, was designed for Boeing by KUKA Systems, and is the latest in a series of strategic manufacturing enhancements for the 777 program, which have already included new systems for painting wings and for other drilling operations.
Featured Image Boeing FAUB Automated Manufacturing System at Anacortes Facility, via Boeing