Boeing this week rolled out the first vertical fin its all-new commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner, the largest primary structure of the 787 airframe built by an internal Boeing supplier.
To create additional production capacity to build the fin, Boeing's Composite Manufacturing Center implemented significant Lean improvements, including a pulse moving line featuring right-sized tooling, determinant assembly and advanced technology drilling techniques. After full implementation of Lean tactics for production of the fin, Boeing anticipates near-term reductions in factory cycle time, inventory, stores, work-in-process and inventory turn rate by another 20 to 30 percent.
Boeing said the delivery meets a key program milestone as the airplane begins final assembly in Everett, Wash., in preparation for its initial roll out later this year.
In addition to designing the new Lean flow, Boeing CMC employees designed the entire structure of the vertical fin, including composite and metal subcomponents. The unit is also responsible for fabrication of the vertical fin's main box, or center section; working together on supplier selection and co-management; major assembly, including integration of supplier-provided structures, hydraulics, electronic actuators, signal lights and wires; functional test; and post-delivery support.
Boeing has more than 400 orders for the 787, which is designed to burn 20 percent less fuel than comparable airplanes by using more lightweight composites.