Imagine A REALLY Big Model Kit...
Final assembly of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner began Monday,
with a ceremony in Everett, WA.
"Today we begin assembling the first airplane of a new
generation," said Scott Strode, 787 vice president of Airplane
Definition and Production. "The 787 not only will revolutionize air
travel, it represents a new way of building airplanes."
With 568 firm orders from 44 airlines, the 787 is the
fastest-selling new airplane in aviation history. The 787
production system was designed using Lean manufacturing techniques
in a simplified final assembly process.
"The 787 production system is the culmination of the lessons
we've learned building previous airplanes," said Steve Westby, 787
vice president of Manufacturing and Quality. "Using composites on
the 787 airframe has a number of manufacturing advantages. We are
able to build huge structure in just one piece, which means we
essentially have six major end items coming together in final
assembly -- the forward, center and aft fuselage sections, the
wings, the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical fin."
Boeing states since the 787 is assembled from these large
assemblies rather than many smaller pieces, traditional monument
assembly tools are not necessary. Portable tools, designed with
ergonomics in mind, move the assemblies into place. No overhead
cranes are used to move airplane structure.
"A composite airframe also means less waste in production and
fewer hazardous materials used during the assembly process," Westby
said. "This is good news for the environment and for our team of
manufacturing technicians building the airplane."
Although the first airplane will take about seven weeks to
assemble, the 787 team looks to continuously improve flow time as
production ramps up. Ultimately, Boeing intends to have a 787 roll
out of the Everett factory every three days.
The first 787 will roll out of the factory on July 8, 2007.