Boeing has announced that it is in the final phases of testing and production readiness of a new method for building B777 fuselages. Known as the Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB), this manufacturing technology is claimed to improve workplace safety and increase product quality.
The technology has been in development by Boeing since 2012, and when it is implemented, 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.
Boeing states that FAUB offers numerous benefits, including an improvement in employee safety. More than half of all injuries on the B777 programme have occurred during the phase of production that is being automated, according to the company. In addition, the automated 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 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.”
The B777 programme has already begun testing FAUB at a facility in Anacortes, Washington. Production readiness preparations are underway and the system will be installed in Everett in a new portion of the main factory that is currently under construction. The technology is expected to be implemented in the next few years.