Boeing convert a 737 assembly function to an automated process.

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avi-addict
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Boeing convert a 737 assembly function to an automated process.

#1

Post by avi-addict » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:49 pm

Boeing has revealed plans to convert a 737 assembly function to an automated process, a key step in the company’s plan to ramp up production capacity in the brisk-selling single-aisle sector.

New panel assembly line (PAL) machines are now being installed on the production line for the 737 wings in Renton, Washington.

The machine, built by robotics specialist Electroimpact, will fasten stringers – thin strips of metal used to stiffen structures – to wing skin panels, says Elizabeth Schryer, Boeing’s director of 737 business operations.

The machine is designed to install fasteners at twice the speed of the machinists who now perform the work, she says.

Boeing expects the machines to deliver several benefits once they are installed and operational, including reducing flow times by one-third, defects by two-thirds, footprint by half and injuries to workers by half, Schryer says.

The automated PAL is the latest move by Boeing to speed up the 737 assembly process, as production rates have leaped from less than 20 per month a decade ago to 42 today. Boeing plans to increase the rate again to 47 per month in 2017 as it introduces the re-engined and updated 737 Max.

The arrival of the PAL machines follows Boeing’s move to revamp the horizontal build line for the 737 wing. Spirit AeroSystems builds 70% of the 737 structure in Wichita, Kansas, including the entire fuselage, but Boeing assembles the wings and the complete aircraft in Renton.

Two years ago, the 737 wing assembly line was a constraint in the production process. The vertical tools used to attach stringers to the wing skins had a fixed production capacity, so Boeing has taken several steps to overhaul the process. The company replaced the vertical tool with a horizontal assembly process, allowing workers to move the wings through the assembly process faster.

Boeing now has the capacity to build more than 60 wing sets per month in Renton, although production rates are not planned to exceed 47.


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Re: Boeing convert a 737 assembly function to an automated process.

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Post by Raffles » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:41 pm

And one of the "other" manufacturers is using 3D printing to produce some parts  :yikes:


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Re: Boeing convert a 737 assembly function to an automated process.

#3

Post by Moertoe Pilut » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:14 pm

I guess that's Boeing's answer to all the recent "Machinist" strikes they had....


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Re: Boeing convert a 737 assembly function to an automated process.

#4

Post by knobbies » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:43 am

[quote="Raffles"]
And one of the "other" manufacturers is using 3D printing to produce some parts  :yikes:
[/quote]
It's not the same 3D printer you have in your basement, Raffles. These machines use
powdered metal to lay down the bits and they are then cooked in an oven to fuse them.



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