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787 production line adds AGVs and 2 hour kits

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posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 04:03 PM
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The next upgrade to the Boeing 787 production line in Everett will put in automated guide vehicles, each carrying a kit containing two hours worth of work parts for the person at that station. When those parts start to run out, the next AGV will bring another 2 hour kit to the station. A magnetic strip has been laid around position 1B, the final body join area, that will guide the AGVs. The first vehicle is expected to enter the factory in early 2017.


Within a few months, the world’s busiest widebody aircraft assembly line will change again. Mobile robotic carts will begin replacing human workers shuttling parts and tools to machinists assembling Boeing 787s in Everett, Washington. Each automated cart will bear kits loaded with precisely enough gear to occupy a machinist for 2h. As each kit is exhausted, the mobile assistant will reappear with a fresh kit, restarting the machinists’ 2h clock.

The attraction of automated guide vehicles (AGVs) in aerospace factories is not new. In West Handa, Japan, Boeing’s composite centre wing box supplier Fuji Heavy Industries already loads structures into autoclaves using AGVs, which charmingly play Japanese karaoke tunes in an effort to alert human workers of their presence as they roll through the factory.

But Boeing is using AGVs for the first time as a means to enable an automotive-like system that precisely measures and monitors work flow through the factory on a minute-by-minute basis.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 04:41 PM
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But Boeing is using AGVs for the first time as a means to enable an automotive-like system that precisely measures and monitors work flow through the factory on a minute-by-minute basis.
a reply to: Zaphod58

I know it's a small thing and I'm definitely not saying Boeing staff are lazy, the planes come of the line just fine. But it can be seen as a little test of the fallibility of man and machine, it's always seen as the bane of a professional worker the machine though the fact remains they are getting better and better at doing the jobs it usually takes an expert to do.

It's a good thing really, maybe one day everyone can have a google operated self-automated vehicle made by robots.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990

They're having to automate the lines to get planes out faster. They were losing a half day at one point, just to move the jig they had in place, so they could lift the aircraft and put the landing gear on. They ended up putting a new jig in place that lifts the aircraft up to do the same thing, which saved that time. They're down to trying to save a few minutes per aircraft at this point.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 05:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Is it that bad with all the orders?

It's a lot more damaging to an airliner company than a car company to recall products, the fault usually lays at the assembly line. Maybe I'm thinking too much into this and Boeing don't need an industrial genius, they clearly aim to churn them out effectively though.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 05:09 PM
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The company I used to work for abandoned the yse of agv's 5+ years ago. They were basically automated pallet jacks that followed a metallic track in the floor. Hopefully the tech has advanced because they became a real headache after the wear and tear of an industrial environment. The 2 hour time format has all t
he earmarks of numerous time studies and lean manufacturing. My sympathies are extended.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 05:12 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990

The actual assembly is still being done by people, and will continue to be done by people. These are only delivering parts to the workers at each station.

They're trying to cut down the delay between ordering and delivery. Right now, Boeing builds 12 787s a month. They have 700 aircraft on order, which puts them at a five year backlog. If they can cut even 30 minutes a plane off that, they can increase that to 13 or even 14 a month over the course of the month. That means they might get that down as much as a year if they can keep increasing it.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 05:22 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Cheers Zaphod, it's why I asked because you are a subject expert and this is your expertise.

That's actually a kick ass number they are assembling already, we have a bank note dedicated to Adam Smith and the division of labour in pin manufacturing. Not completely relevant but it's basically the same thing.


edit on 30-9-2016 by RAY1990 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 05:28 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990

It's pretty cool to see all the different ways they assemble the different aircraft. The 747 is moved as each section is completed, until it's moved out to paint and fuel. The 737, over in Renton, has a moving assembly line that moves the entire floor slowly to each station. Both of those assemble the airframes as the parts arrive for each one. It takes something like 8 days to build a 737 starting from a bare fuselage that arrives on a train.

The 787 does things a little differently. They don't start assembling an aircraft until every piece has arrived at the factory. Then they're all put on a giant moving platform and they start putting them together. The platform moves something like a couple feet an hour, or something like that. It goes up one side of the line, and by the time it gets to the end the airframe is assembled. It turns around, and comes back down the other side of the line, and they add engines, and start tests as they go.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 05:56 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Awesome.

You've actually got me looking forward to some "How it's made" documentaries of which I'm sure they'll make.

I've seen similar assembly lines, where a giant jig and a bit of innovation does wonders. But this is big aeroplanes and what you explain is basically awesome.

The approach the 787 is taking in assembly is how you want to approach mass production, but as you say it's cool seeing how aircraft are assembled. The individuality and the standard, the expertise then the know-how.

Awesome.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 06:09 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990

It's really cool to do the Everett tour. You go up in an elevator, the doors open, and you're looking at the upper half of a 747 tail. Then you can look down on the top of the bubble on them as they're being assembled.










posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 07:10 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Whoah, say no more... SAY NO MORE!

Such a sport!

I dare say one thing is sexier than seeing and hearing these babies fly, that's seeing them being made.

Nah nothing beats that roar but still, definitely worth a or two. I'd star that post 100 times if I could, sheer porn.

Cheers.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 08:00 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990

You should take the factory tour.



posted on Sep, 30 2016 @ 08:10 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

I so need to go do that again. I wish they'd let cameras go on it too.



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