EVERETT, Wash. - Final assembly of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner began on Monday.
The company has 568 firm orders from 44 airlines, making the Dreamliner the fastest-selling new airplane in aviation history.
Boeing said it used lean manufacturing techniques in a simplified final assembly process, which includes using composites.
“The 787 production system is the culmination of the lessons we’ve learned building previous airplanes,” said Steve Westby, 787 vice president of Manufacturing and Quality. “Using composites on the 787 airframe has a number of manufacturing advantages. We are able to build huge structure in just one piece, which means we essentially have six major end items coming together in final assembly—the forward, center and aft fuselage sections, the wings, the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical fin.”
Using the large assemblies does not require traditional monument assembly tools or overhead cranes to move airplane structure.
“A composite airframe also means less waste in production and fewer hazardous materials used during the assembly process,” Westby added.
Current assembly time for the 787 Dreamliner is seven weeks, but the company expects to cut that to three days.
The first 787 Dreamliner is expected on July 8, 2007.