A Korean Air Boeing 777F this week became the first airframe to go through the 777 final assembly line in Everett, Washington, since the production rate was raised to 8.3 aircraft per month. According to Boeing, the new rate is the highest ever for any wide-body aircraft, and is made possible through a combination of automated assembly products and continuous process improvements. Now, Boeing has a 777 leaving the factory every 2.5 days on average. That’s 100 completions per year.
It wasn’t always like this. Back in the late 80s when Boeing designed the 777 production process, its maximum rate was seven aircraft per month, and even in 2003 when the company moved towards a U-shaped moving assembly line, the rate stayed the same.
Now, innovations suggested from the factory floor by Employee Involvement teams have helped make the increased rate possible.
In next week’s Aviation Week & Space Technology, senior editor Michael Mecham delves into how an increased use of robotics has helped Boeing ramp up its 777 production rates. Make sure to keep an eye out for it (digital subscribers can read it online from Friday).
This video, courtesy of Boeing, explains how the 777, which has 50,000 subassemblies and around three million individual parts, is now being produced at a faster rate thanks to automated technologies.