Automation behind Boeing’s plans

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 by Thomas Colson

Boeing is to introduce automated assembly technology for use in the production of its 777 and 777x fuselages.

Amongst the raft of announcements from Boeing at Farnborough airshow this week was the news that the firm’s automation project, which has been in development since 2012, is ready to be installed.

Known as the Fuselage Automated Upright Build, or FAUB, this advanced manufacturing technology is aimed at improving workplace safety and increasing product quality.

With this new technology, 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 today installed by hand.

A major benefit of FAUB is the improvement in employee safety: more than half of all injuries on the 777 programme have occurred during the phase of production that is being automated.

In addition, the new system is expected to reduce build times and improve first-time quality of the build process.

“This is the first time such technology will be used by Boeing to manufacture widebody commercial airplanes,” said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager of the 777 program.

The robotic system, designed by the German-based KUKA Systems, a supplier of automated manufacturing solutions.

The technology is expected to be implemented in the next few years.