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“The majority of all injuries can be eliminated by design- ing for safe manufacturing. It begins with spending more time in the production areas listening to the operators we support. We then create designs, build plans, tools and equipment to implement advanced manufacturing,” Sul- livan said. “In the areas where we have applied advanced manufacturing, we are seeing a signifi cant reduction in inju- ries, as well as improvements in quality and productivity.” But much more is coming. The cutting-edge future of advanced manufacturing is the Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB), which uses programmable robots to drill holes for and install approximately 50,000 fasten- ers on fuselage sections—a repetitive job done by hand today. The repetitive stress is hard on people’s shoulders and hands, and this new technology will signifi cantly improve ergonomics, eliminating this stress, according to Sullivan. This precision drilling also improves quality in the build process. FAUB will be used for the fi rst time on the 777 and the 777X. A 200,000-ft2


(18,600-m2 ) addition on the east end


of the Everett factory will house FAUB systems to put together sections of both planes. “Advanced manufacturing—like FAUB—is helping us transform our production system to maximize our com- petitive advantage,” said Jason Clark, vice president of operations for the 777 and 777X programs. “It’ll be used soon on today’s 777, and later on tomorrow’s 777X, help- ing to propel production into the future.”


The Human Factor With other industries already ahead of aerospace in advanced manufacturing processes, it is time to put aside hesitation and move forward, Odisho added. But he ac- knowledged that as advanced manufacturing technology and processes improve, so can employee anxiety about the future of the human workforce. Automation, however, can’t replace the innovative and fl exible decision-making that employees bring to their jobs, Odisho said. “There’s no better design than the human capacity to


respond to situations quickly,” Odisho said. “If our goal was to just replace all people with machines in produc- tion, we’d be bound to fail.”


The new way of making the 777 tee duct, for example, underscores just how important employees are to ad- vanced manufacturing. Murray, the team lead, pointed out that it took his team’s ingenuity and repeated trial and er-


Structure mechanics Ricky Anthony, left, and Ron Masset, top, set up a Flex Track automated drilling machine on a 777 fuselage in the Everett, WA, factory.


ror to perfect the production process. “Regardless of the amount of advanced technology we have at our disposal, the one resource that we cannot purchase is our team’s continuity, tenacity and expertise,” he said. “Without this, the advanced technology is rendered inoperable.” At the same time, employees also say they see the


benefi ts, for themselves and for Boeing, of advanced manufacturing tools and processes. “It’s going to happen,” said Anthony, one of the 777 mechanics. “Everyone is switching to it, and you get con- sistent production times and good quality.” Murray echoed that, saying his team, which programs


computer-controlled machines, sees many opportunities where advanced manufacturing can make a difference. “In my opinion, people in the company today have the opportunity to utilize advanced manufacturing tools and processes far greater than any other time in the history of The Boeing Company,” Murray said, “and the need has never been greater for them to do so. We need to back them so we can ensure their success.”


SME and Advanced Manufacturing Media extends its thanks to the Boeing Company’s Ray Halbert and Junu Kim, as well as author Eric Fetters-Walp and photographer Bob Ferguson, for making this feature available to us.


57 — Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2015


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