Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) is installing automated production lines at its Renton plant. Building wings for the popular 737 jetliner using the robotic system has begun. The company intends to install more of such machines as it seeks to increase production. The new systems are also expected to improve factory efficiency.
Boeing Co (NYSE:BA)’s automated machines, known as Panel Assembly Line (PAL), are replacing the older ones that required a lot of human input in the production process, sometimes leading to injuries. Two of the new systems are dedicated to the production of 737 jetliners.
The automated machines are able to drill holes in wing panels and also install rivets. However, the older machines only drilled the panels but could not install rivets, a task that was left to workers but led to injuries as well as defects.
Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) expects the new systems to lower injuries by 50%, cut defects by 66% and reduce the time of production by 33%. The company will also be able to reduce factory footprint by 50% with the installation of the robotic systems.
Target for nine machines
Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) has already installed five automated machines at its Renton plant and intends to erect eight machines in total at the plant. There will also be a spare machine. The robotic systems were developed by a company known as Electroimpact Inc. Boeing is replacing the older machines from Gemcor with the new automated systems.
Two of the Renton assembly lines, which are dedicated to 737 jetliners, are able to produce 42 jets a month. However, the automated systems are expected to speed up production to 47 jets a month and then 52 jets a month by 2018.
Third line to produce 737 MAX
Later in summer, Boeing will be open to open the third automated assembly line for the production of 737 MAX. If work on the fuel-saving MAX starts in August, Boeing expects to get the first plan finished by November.
Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) could produce about 63 single-aisle plans per month from its automated lines once the third system starts running.