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October 2006 edition

Boeing fabrication unit makes bespoke changes

The Boeing fabrication manufacturing business unit is making bespoke changes at its Washington, U.S., factory to boost the progress of new work on the 787.

It is streamlining its factory and implementing a pulsed moving line for the 787 vertical fin. A spokesman says: “This will allow both the 787 vertical fin and 777 empennage to be built in the building’s original footprint.”

Fabrication of the first composite stringers for the 787 vertical fin began on 13 September at the Composite Manufacturing Centre (CMC) at Boeing Frederickson in Pierce County, Washington.

The vertical fin is the largest major Boeing 787 assembly built by an internal Boeing supplier. CMC plans to deliver its first fully functional vertical fin to 787 Final Assembly in Everett, Washington, in the spring of next year.

Boeing’s composite manufacturing centre is responsible for designing the entire structure, including composite and metal subcomponents; manufacturing and assembling the vertical fin’s main box, or centre section; working together on supplier selection and co-management; integration of sub-tier-supplied components; functionally testing and certifying all structures and systems, such as hydraulics, electronic actuators, signal lights and wires; and providing life-cycle support.

The vertical fin assembly and horizontal stabiliser make up the empennage, or tail structure, of an aircraft. The vertical fin assembly is an elliptical airfoil comprised of the leading edge, centre box and rudder.


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