A new, automated technique for building 777 fuselages could be implemented within a few years at the airplane-maker Boeing, the company announced today.
The new process, called FAUB, or Fuselage Automated Upright Build, uses “automated, guided robots” to fasten fuselage panels together. Today, the 40,000 to 60,000 fasteners per fuselage are installed by hand.
The benefits, besides faster build times and quality improvements, include increased workplace safety, the company says. “More than half of all injuries on the 777 program have occurred during the phase of production that is being automated,” Boeing says in its release.
The robot is built for Boeing by KUKA Systems, a German robotics company. The 777—Boeing’s largest airplane, with two engines—is one of its most successful lines ever. Boeing is in the process of refreshing the 777 with a new series called the777X, which is scheduled to start flying in 2020.