As of this summer, Boeing will be using automation as a way to improve the quality of their planes, increase efficiency in manufacturing, and lower costs.
The automation is part of a campaign by Boeing to raise quality and lower costs as it competes against Airbus for market share and prepares for a future when China will enter the wide-body aircraft market.
In addition to the automated wing painting system, which started in February, Boeing also has been using a robotic drilling machine to drill rivet holes in the 777’s metal fuselage, although the rivets still are set by hand. An automated floor drilling machine also is operating, and is three to four times faster than the previous approach.
Just in painting, Boeing has reduced time from four and a half hours to 24 minutes and saved 70 pounds per wing. In addition, Boeing contends that it did not have to lay off workers, only moving them to other tasks within the manufacturing process.
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